Charter Said to Tap Goldman Sachs for TWC Bid Financing
Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) added Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) to a group of banks prepared to lend it as much as $25 billion for its Time Warner Cable Inc. bid, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The group also includes Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc (BARC), said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. While Charter hasn’t signed a letter of commitment yet, the banks have agreed to fund a bid, the people said.
Charter met with the lenders last week to set financing terms, one of the people said. The fourth-largest U.S. cable operator is planning to offer less than $135 per Time Warner Cable share, a person said last week. At that price, Time Warner Cable is valued at about $62 billion, including debt.
The bid will include cash and Charter’s stock, and Charter may also sell shares in a public offering, one of the people said. John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. (LMCA), currently Charter’s largest shareholder, will contribute cash to maintain about a 27 percent stake in the new company, the person said.
Alex Dudley, a spokesman for Stamford, Connecticut-based Charter, and Susan Leepson, a spokeswoman for Time Warner Cable, declined to comment, as did representatives of Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. Courtnee Ulrich, a spokeswoman for Liberty, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Malone hosted several Time Warner Cable shareholders, including Paulson & Co., last week in Colorado to discuss his interest in Charter acquiring the New York-based cable company, said a person with knowledge of the meeting. He told those investors that Charter will make an unsolicited offer soon and he expects it will get rejected, this person said. Malone encouraged the shareholders to press Time Warner Cable to agree to a merger, this person said.
Paulson & Co. owned 4 million Time Warner Cable shares as of Sept. 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Armel Leslie, a spokesman for Paulson & Co. with WalekPeppercomm, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Malone also has held internal discussions about assembling a list of directors for a potential proxy fight at Time Warner Cable’s annual 2014 annual meeting, another person said. The window to nominate board members is Jan. 16 to Feb. 15.
Time Warner Cable wants at least $150 a share before it accepts a deal, a person with knowledge of the matter has said. Some Time Warner Cable shareholders are pushing Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) to make a competitive offer to acquire the entire company despite potential regulatory resistance, one of the people said.