Luxembourg-based cable-and-telecom group Altice has talked with Time Warner about a potential acquisition of the US-based cable company, according to media reports.
Reports also said that Altice is close to buying smaller peer Suddenlink, marking its entry into the US cable market. A deal with Time Warner would further consolidate the large US cable market.
By acquiring Suddenlink, the seventh-largest US cable operator by video customers, Altice would get access to about 1.5 million customers in more than a dozen states from Texas to West Virginia. Time Warner Cable, with a $44.5bn (£28.6bn, €39.6bn) market capitalisation, focuses on large US markets such as New York and Los Angeles.
Altice was also looking at privately held Suddenlink, Reuters reported earlier on 19 May. The negotiations with Suddenlink are more advanced and a transaction could be announced later this week, sources told Reuters. The deal could be worth $10bn, including debt.
Altice, controlled by French billionaire Patrick Drahi, is expected to face stiff competition from Charter Communications to acquire Time Warner. Charter Communications has been working on a possible merger with Time Warner, after its merger proposal with Comcast failed in April due to competition concerns.
Altice has made a number of acquisitions in Europe since it became public in January 2014. Numericable, a French cable operator owned by Altice, earlier acquired the country's second-largest mobile carrier SFR, Portugal Telecom and another operator in the Dominican Republic.
Now, the company is looking to expand its geographical footprint by entering the US market, which is much more competitive and larger than Europe.