CHICAGO--Making about as overt a gesture as you're ever likely to see at a trade show, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) CEO James Dolan told an INTX panel audience, in very few uncertain words, that he'd like Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) to buy his company.
"Consolidation of the [New York] marketplace would provide a great deal of ingenuity and lower prices for consumers," Dolan said on a panel of top cable company CEOs, moderated by CNBC media and entertainment reporter Julia Boorstin. "If New York was operated like one market, you would see things like Wi-Fi more effectively distributed throughout the marketplace … if it were operated as one operation, there would be a lot more we could do."
Asked by Boorstin if, by suggesting consolidation, he was implying that Cablevision should partner or merge with Verizon FiOS (NYSE: VZ), Dolan replied, "No."
Asked the same question about TWC, with that MSO's CEO, Rob Marcus, standing a mere five feet away from him, Dolan responded with a "yes."
Dolan's surprising comments juiced Cablevision's stock more than 7 percent Wednesday and solicited this amusing remark from fellow panelist Patrick Esser, president of Cox Communications: "I feel like I'm on match.com, and we're all trying to update our relationship status in front of 10,000 people."
Before Dolan even uttered a sentence, Marcus set the tone for TWC's response, noting, "We're not going to discuss M&A today."
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