Verizon Communications is exploring a combination with Charter Communications that would unite two giants in search of growth in a rapidly consolidating media and telecom landscape, according to people familiar with the matter.
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Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has made a preliminary approach to officials close to Charter and Verizon is working with advisers to study a potential transaction, the people said, though there's no guarantee a deal will materialize.
It is unclear whether Charter executives, including Chief Executive Tom Rutledge, would be open to a transaction. The effort could be complicated by Charter's ownership structure, which includes cable tycoon John Malone and the Newhouse family.
A combination would bring together Verizon's more than 114 million wireless subscribers and what remains of its landline business with Charter's cable network, which provides television to 17 million customers and broadband connections to 21 million.
Verizon has a market capitalization of $194 billion and more than $100 billion in debt, while Charter ended Wednesday's session valued at about $85 billion.
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