Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-largest U.S. cable provider, has made a first-round bid to buy Cablevision Systems Corp.’s Optimum West business, according to people familiar with the situation.
Charter Communications Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. cable company, and Suddenlink Communications, the seventh-largest, have also made offers, according to three people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. Bids were due at the end of last week, two people said.
The companies are vying for a business that serves about 300,000 customers in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. Cablevision acquired Optimum West, formerly known as Bresnan Broadband Holdings LLC, two years ago for $1.37 billion. Selling the business would let Cablevision concentrate on the New York area, where most of its customers reside.
A deal won’t be announced until January or February, one of the people said.
Shares of Time Warner Cable, based in New York, fell 1.8 percent to $95.53 yesterday. Charter rose 0.3 percent to $73.43, while Cablevision dropped 0.8 percent to $14.74.
Time Warner Cable completed an acquisition of Insight Communications Co. in February for about $3 billion. The deal let the company add 760,000 cable customers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Time Warner Cable ranks second to Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. in total cable customers.
Cablevision serves about 3 million subscribers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania. The Bethpage, New York-based company began exploring a sale of the Bresnan business after several acquisitions of cable systems were announced this year at favorable prices.
Charter, based in St. Louis, has its own connection to the Bresnan business. Charter Chief Executive Officer Tom Rutledge served as chief operations officer at Cablevision during the Bresnan purchase in 2010. He told CNBC earlier this month that he still liked the assets.