Comcast's withdrawal of its $45 billion bid could put Time Warner Cable into play. Charter Communications could pursue it again, analysts say. Fred Katayama reports.
Comcast abandoned its $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable. The decision came after the deal faced scrutiny from regulators and criticism from some politicians and consumer groups. The move could put Time Warner Cable into play. Analysts see several options for the U.S.' second largest cable company: - being gobbled up by smaller rival Charter Communications, which is partly owned by Liberty Media. - staying single and issuing a big stock buyback - or buying cable operator Bright House Networks. Time Warner Cable rejected earlier overtures from Charter. Buckingham Research analyst James Ratcliffe said, "Time Warner Cable clearly represents the simplest way for Charter to increase its absolute scale and (we) believe that Charter management and Liberty remain very interested in a Time Warner Cable transaction." Wall Street says Comcast can lie low for now or make several moves. Macquarie Securities analyst Amy Yong sees Comcast possibly "expanding its footprint overseas, increasing its presence in media to boost NBCUniversal, or moving into the wireless business..." If it sniffs abroad, analysts believe Comcast will pursue Europe's largest cable operator, Liberty Global. Shares of Comcast and Time Warner Cable rose in early trading. Lesson learned, analysts don't expect Comcast to make a huge purchase in the U.S. given its disastrous experience this week in Washington..