Comcast To Buy Time Warner Cable For $45bn
The two biggest US cable companies are joining forces in a $45bn (£27bn) deal, creating an entertainment giant with some 32 million TV subscribers.
Comcast's merger with Time Warner Cable was confirmed at the start of trading on Thursday.
Its offer, which is subject to regulatory approval, is about 17% higher than the company's closing share price on Wednesday.
The takeover bid trumps an earlier $38bn (£23bn) offer from Charter Communications, which appeared to concede defeat by announcing: "We've always maintained our greatest opportunity to create value for shareholders is by executing our current business plan.
"We'll continue to be disciplined in this and any other (merger and acquisition) activity we pursue."
Comcast is the largest video, broadband and phone provider in the US with more than 21 million TV subscribers.
The company owns a host of cable channels, including Syfy, E! and CNBC, as well as Universal Pictures and the Universal Orlando theme park.
Its current rival, Time Warner Cable, which was spun off from the parent entertainment company Time Warner in 2009, has about 11 million TV customers.
Washington-based consumer group Public Knowledge called on regulators to halt the deal, saying it would create an "unprecedented gatekeeper power in several important markets".
"An enlarged Comcast would be the bully in the schoolyard," a spokesman added.
Comcast is expected to insist its market does not overlap with Time Warner Cable and that the deal would not reduce competition for consumers.
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