The telecommunications giants Verizon and Charter Communications are exploring a combination, The Wall Street Journal’s Shalini Ramachandran, Ryan Knutson, and Dana Mattioli report.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam approached officials “close to Charter,” according to the report, and is working with bankers to explore a potential deal.
The talks are preliminary, the report said.
Charter’s shares surged about 10% in Thursday’s premarket trading on the news.
Bloomberg later reported that McAdam specifically approached the CEO of Liberty Media, an investor in Charter, about buying the company — but that no advisers had been formally hired on either side. Charter is among as many as 10 different takeover targets Verizon is considering, the Bloomberg report said.
Verizon has 114 million wireless subscribers, while Charter has 17 million cable customers and 21 million broadband customers.
Both Charter and Verizon declined to comment on the report.
Combining with Charter would give Verizon a much larger footprint in home broadband and pay TV than it has with its Fios business. Charter Communications bought Time Warner Cable last year and rebranded it as Spectrum. It is now one of the largest US providers of internet and cable TV.
The move could also bolster Verizon’s recent digital content acquisitions such as AOL and the impending $4.8 billion Yahoo deal that’s expected to close in the second quarter.
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