Altice would have easier time with feds in buying TWC than Charter would, poll finds

The federal government would prefer a European multinational purchase Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) rather than a large U.S. cable company like Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR).

This is according to a number of analysts polled in a Thursday Reuters report, the upshot of which was Luxembourg-based telecom conglomerate Altice SA has a better regulatory shot at acquiring TWC than Charter does.

Speculating about the regulatory viewpoint towards a Charter-TWC merger, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield asked in a recent investor note, "Does the government want to create another Comcast?"

Conversely, Harold Feld, veteran telecom observer for the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, told Reuters, "To the extent that the Charter-Time Warner Cable deal raises regulatory concerns because they're still one of the largest domestic broadband companies, Altice doesn't bring any of that baggage."

According to MoffettNathanson, a merger between Charter and TWC would control a company that controls 20 percent of the U.S. broadband market.

Even with its proposed purchase of Suddenlink Communications, meanwhile, Altice would control less than 15 percent of the U.S. ISP market with TWC in the fold.   

Altice burst onto the U.S. cable M&A scene Wednesday, with a stunning $9.1 billion deal to acquire mid-sized operator Suddenlink Communications. Charter is already making its own deal with another mid-sized operator, Bright House Communications, to bulk up assets and make a run at TWC.

Speculation began that Altice has the same plans--and that was somewhat confirmed in several reports Wednesday that said Altice executives have already spoken to TWC about a deal. 

For more:
- read this Reuters story

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