Comcast will announce a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal worth more than $44 billion that will unite the biggest and second-largest cable television operators in the country, the New York Times reported.
The surprise merger — expected to be announced today — is likely to bring to an end a protracted takeover battle that a smaller cable rival, Charter Communications, has been waging for Time Warner Cable, and could radically reshape the U.S. media landscape.
Time Warner Cable shareholders will receive 2.875 shares of newly issued Comcast common stock for each of their shares. Based on Comcast's closing price of $55.24 Wednesday, that values each Time Warner Cable share at about $158.82 each.
The combination of the two is certain to attract antitrust scrutiny by regulators.
Charter had been courting Time Warner Cable for months. Last month, Charter had offered to acquire the company for $132.50 a share.
Despite combining the two largest cable operators in the country, a merger may have little impact on consumers. Comcast and Time Warner Cable compete in very few markets. As a result, few consumers will see their choices of cable operators reduced.
Comcast has about 22 million television customers, according to the National Cable and Telecommunications Association. Time Warner Cable has about 11 million video subscribers, according to people familiar with the company.