Comcast and Charter Communications got tongues wagging early this week with an announcement that the two cable players will be working as one when it comes to wireless. According to the pair, the deal – which includes a clause precluding one from working on any wireless deal talks without the consent of the other for a year – will result in “more choice, innovative products, and competitive prices” for customers across each of their footprints.
While the news took many industry watchers and analysts by surprise (the heads up from the Wall Street Journal notwithstanding), there was someone who wasn’t at all shocked: Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. In fact, McAdam said Monday afternoon Verizon encouraged Comcast and Charter to work together.
But why? Well, that’s a question of simplicity.
“I don’t see any difference in the relationship between Verizon and Comcast and Charter either before or after their announcement,” McAdam said during an analyst meeting. “They had the right to work together as an MVNO and frankly we encouraged them to work together because dealing with one customer is a lot better than dealing with multiple customers.”
Following Comcast and Charter’s announcement, analysts immediately began firing off takes on what the deal will mean for deal talks over the next year. But there McAdam remained mum. For information on Comcast and Charter’s M&A plans, analysts should ask them, but Verizon for its part wasn’t talking, he said.
Prior to the hookup, rumors were floating around that Verizon might make a play to acquire Charter at some point. That idea appears to have been squashed – at least for the year-long term of the cable pair’s deal – unless Comcast for some reason would consent to the deal.