By Georg Szalai, Staff Writer, The Hollywood Reporter: Liberty Media chairman John Malone is widely lauded as one of the pioneers of the U.S. cable TV industry.
Since agreeing in 1998 to sell his then-cable empire TCI, at the time the largest U.S. cable operator, to AT&T for $48 billion, he has been focusing on other U.S. activities, making cable sector headlines mostly abroad, especially for building Liberty Global, formed in 2005, into a pan-European cable giant with additional holdings in Latin America.
On Tuesday, Charter unveiled a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable, the country’s second-largest cable company, which, if regulators approve it, would make Malone a major U.S. cable mogul again. Charter would become the country’s second-largest cable and third-largest pay TV company (behind Comcast and the planned combined AT&T-DirecTV).
Plus, Malone also has significant stakes in such content businesses as Discovery Communications, Starz and Lionsgate, although Wall Street has been less clear on how much synergy the mogul sees between them and his pay TV business.
Jonathan Morgan, deals analyst at The Edge Consulting Group in London, has lauded Malone for being “one of the greatest capital allocators of all times, with performance similar to Warren Buffett.” In a previously issued report on the time period of 2006 through October 2014, he said: “The recent period for John Malone-controlled entities has been outstanding, with Liberty Global, Starz … and others now totaling over $100 billion in market value.”
Moffett says the Charter deals clear up what he has described as the muddy picture of the cable sector.