Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei, one of the chief architects in a possible merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, told an audience at an industry conference Tuesday night that consolidation could help the larger company operate more efficiently.
Liberty Media owns a 27% interest in Charter and has been a major cheerleader in a potential Charter/TWC union. Maffei has said publicly in the past that Charter presents a huge opportunity for consolidation in the industry.
At the Citigroup Internet, Media & Telecommunication conference in Las Vegas Tuesday, Maffei was short on specifics, but told the audience that he believes TWC has not been run as well as some of its cable peers, particularly Comcast and Charter. And he said that while the industry has changed – 20 years ago there was no such thing as over-the-top competition – he also saw new opportunities in the current landscape.
“The cable business has new threats but also new opportunities, most of them enhanced by scale, not just on the cost side but on ancillary opportunities,” Maffei said. “A new set of reinvigorated cable opportunities comes from working together and building scale. Some of that is from consolidation and some of that is from confederation and working together more closely.”
Charter and TWC have reportedly been far apart in assessing the potential synergies of a deal – some say Charter believes there are at least $700 million in cost savings attributable to a merger, while TWC values them at closer to $500 million. Maffei didn’t comment on exact values, but added that any deal would put pressure on Charter to perform.
“Can they happen fast enough will be the real key,” Maffei said.