Liberty Tosses Cold Water on Altice-Charter Pairing

Maffei says taking ‘equity we don’t want’ unlikely

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei dampened the enthusiasm around reports that European telecom company Altice N.V. was contemplating making a play for one of Liberty’s biggest holdings, Charter Communications, telling analysts that it was unlikely that the company would accept equity it doesn’t want in any proposed deal.

Liberty owns about 25% of Charter stock, which it acquired through a series of deals back in 2013. The company set up a separate tracking stock—Liberty Broadband—that includes the Charter equity, about a year after that.

On Wednesday, CNBC reported that Altice was lining up banks to make a possible Charter bid, which sent the cable company’s stock skyward in early trading. Charter shares closed at $400.90, up 3%. On Thursday, both stocks were down slightly in early trading—Charter to $400 per share (down 90 cents each or 0.2%) and Altice USA to $30.94 per share (down 15 cents each or 0.5%).

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(Photo via Ervins Strauhmanis's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 19, 2014 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 16x9 aspect ratio.)