Charter more ready than ever to go after TWC if Comcast can't close deal, Liberty's Maffei says

Charter's (NASDAQ: CHTR) top executives are still working to uphold their end of the complex three-way deal built around the proposed merger of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).

Greg Maffei

Maffei (Source: Charter)

But if federal regulators don't approve that deal this spring, Charter executives say they are even more ready than before Comcast proposed the marriage to swoop in and buy TWC themselves.

That was the takeaway from Tuesday's Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference, where Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge and Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei both spoke. Liberty Media Chairman Tom Malone is Charter's dominant shareholder.

When asked if Charter would pursue a TWC merger, Maffei said, "There would be a ton of reasons" to do it, following up the emphatic "Hell, yes," that Malone responded with in November when asked the same question at a similar investment bank event.

In fact, with Charter's stock up nearly 50 percent in the year since Comcast proposed its agreement, Maffei said the company is in even better position to make the bid.

Speaking on the same stage, however, Rutledge said Charter is acting as if the Comcast-TWC deal will get done.

"Plan A is to make it work," he said.

He said he expects the deal for Charter's joint venture with Comcast, GreatLand Communications, to close about 45 days after the core merger agreement does.

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