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Cablevision CEO publicly courts Time Warner Cable, claims he wants merger

One company’s colossal acquisition failure could turn out to be another’s ticket to salvation. Weeks after Comcast abandoned its efforts to acquire Time Warner Cable, Cablevision CEO James Dolan voiced interest in a merger between Cablevision and Time Warner Cable at The Internet and Television Expo held in Chicago.

Dolan proposed working toward consolidation in specific markets rather than pursue an all-out acquisition on a national scale as Comcast did with Time Warner. “I think consolidation of [the New York] marketplace would provide a great deal of ingenuity, and much more access to resources for the customers, and lower prices. And I think it would be great business.” Dolan stated he would be interested in consolidating with Time Warner Cable — which it competes with in New York City — and any other cable operator, except Verizon.

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While Time Warner Cable chief Rob Marcus jokingly responded to Dolan’s proposal saying he wasn’t sure “whether I’ve just been asked out on a date or to get married,” Dolan’s plan seems more like it’s flirting around with the middle of the two extremes. He made the conscious decision to explain he’s proposing cable operators work as “one operation” and not “one company” in individual marketplaces. “If New York was operated like one market,” Dolan remarked, “you would see things like Wi-Fi distributed throughout the entire marketplace … that very important technology becoming ubiquitous throughout the marketplace.”

Time Warner Cable — the largest cable provider in New York City — has coverage in every borough except the Bronx. Cablevision only covers the Bronx and parts of Brooklyn. Dolan’s proposal would expand both company’s reaches into new territories.

During the panel, Dolan revealed Cablevision conducted an accounting study of the company’s expenses and discovered that it makes seven times more in profits from its broadband business than its linear TV business. This urge for consolidation could be a daring effort to save Cablevision’s dwindling broadband business, which has seen losses in video subscribers for the past 11 consecutive quarters.