BY LIANA B. BAKER AND GREG ROUMELIOTIS
Time Warner Cable Inc is nearing an agreement to be acquired by smaller peer Charter Communications Inc for about $55 billion, combining the second and third largest U.S. cable operators, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.
A deal would create a major rival to Comcast Corp, the biggest operator in the U.S. cable and broadband market, and marks a triumph for Charter, which was rejected by Time Warner Cable just last year.
News of another potential merger comes as the traditional pay television industry faces stagnating growth and new competition from over-the-web rivals offering individual services, like Netflix, or packages of channels, such as Sony. A larger company in this sector could achieve greater economies of scale, including in negotiations with programmers.
The cash-and-stock deal values Time Warner Cable at $195 per share, according to sources, and comes just one month after Comcast dropped its $45.2 billion merger agreement with Time Warner Cable, clinched in February 2014, over antitrust concerns.
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