Charter Communications started the cable consolidation wave a little early, agreeing to buy Bright House Networks in a deal valued at about $10.4 billion.
News of the deal comes a few weeks after speculation that the two were talking about an acquisition originally surfaced. By agreeing to buy Bright House, which has about 2 million customers in Florida, California, Alabama, Indiana and Michigan, Charter removed the cloud surrounding the Advance-Newhouse owned cable company after its partner, Time Warner Cable, is acquired by Comcast. Bright House buys its programming under the same deals as TWC. There was some doubt as to whether that agreement would continue after the Comcast deal is closed.
The agreement, which will take place after Comcast completes its $67 billion TWC acquisition, also is a signal that the parties are confident a transaction will be consummated. Analysts had lowered the odds that the deal would receive Federal Communications Commission approval to about 50-50 after consumer groups and regulators blasted the deal.