Charter Communications stock has surged this week on Wall Street rumors that the company is working on some kind of significant merger or acquisition. Employees state that the company has frozen all budgets, and I've confirmed with some Charter folks that there's all-hands-on-deck manager conferences scheduled for this week. Deadline
insists that possible suitors could include Cox or Time Warner Cable:
The cable company’s shares are up 5% in afternoon trading amid talk that it’s gearing up for a deal with a larger company — possibly either Time Warner Cable or Cox. Word has it that Charter just froze all budgets including hiring at its new headquarters in Stamford, CT.
The timing for a sale seems off, with the company spending $10 million for a shiny new Stamford headquarters. The company has certainly been streamlining things since Former Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge became the company's new CEO. That streamlining has included killing off the company's popular online support team
and social media department, which provided extra support on Twitter and here in our private direct forums
Acquisition, sale, or just good old Wall Street stock fluffing, there's also the question of whether regulators would approve further consolidation in the already uncompetitive broadband market. AT&T and Verizon, unwilling to upgrade millions of DSL users, are happily letting those customers flee to cable
. Add to that a consolidation in the number of major cable players, and you've got a recipe for even less competition and more bad behavior, with just a few cable operators cornering the entire fixed-line broadband market.