Charter set to acquire Time Warner Cable for $55bn

Charter Communications is said to be near a US$55 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, a deal that would create a broadband powerhouse in the U.S.

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US broadband provider Charter Communications is said to be near a $55 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, its second attempt to buy the firm.

The deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, according to articles in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, the first to report the story.

Chartered first attempted to acquire Time Warner Cable in 2014, prior to a bid from Comcast later that year. The Comcast bid fell apart in April after the Federal Communications Commission referred the proposed acquisition to a hearing in front of a judge. The move effectively killed that plan because of the time and effort it would have taken.

The US Department of Justice also had been reportedly leaning toward blocking the merger on antitrust grounds, should it have received FCC clearance. Critics of the deal, including Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, had previously raised concerns that the acquisition would give Comcast too much cable TV and broadband market power. 

Charter's new bid is higher than Comcast's proposed $45 billion deal. Charter is offering approximately $195 per share -- 14 percent above Time Warner Cable's closing price Friday, according to the reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

Charter also plans to acquire Bright House Networks, a smaller cable company. If successful, the deals would make Charter, currently the fourth biggest cable company in the US, second to only Comcast.