Liberty Media chairman John Malone said he would pursue Time Warner Cable again if Its current deal with Comcast is rejected by regulators. However, he noted that his current arrangement with both companies is probably the best outcome.
"Hell yes," Malone said in an immediate response to a question in whether he would want Charter Communications to restart its pursuit of Time Warner Cable in the absence of a Comcast deal. "That said, we're happy with the deal that was negotiated. In many ways it's a better deal than going after 100% of Time Warner Cable."
Charter negotiated a series of swaps, sales and spins that would essentially double its footprint should the Comcast-TWC deal gain federal approvals.
Charter is expected to be an aggressive buyer of systems in the wake of Comcast-TWC and Malone said the criteria for new acquisitions is simple: buying systems that represent an incremental margin increase and a strong return on investment.
"You can't buy things that aren't for sale, and you pay too much if you try," Malone said, adding that any combination has to be a melding of the needs of current investors with opportunities to improve the economics of both companies overall.
"I used to add management bandwidth [in that mix]," Malone added, "but in the case of Charter, the management bandwidth is infinite."