John Malone has given the rights of first refusal to the CEOs of Discovery Communications (DISCA) and Liberty Global (LBTYA) to buy his holdings in their respective companies.
Discovery chief David Zaslav will be able to purchase Malone's 29% voting stake in the TV broadcaster; at Liberty, Michael Fries will be able to acquire Malone's 27% voting interest.
However, Malone has no intention of reducing his involvement in the businesses just yet, nor has he laid out any similar plans for his holding in Liberty Media (LMCA). Rather, the rights given to Zaslav and Fries represent planning for the future.
Comcast (CMCSA) reportedly prefers joining up up with Charter Communications (CHTR) to bid for Time Warner Cable rather (TWC) than making an offer on its own.
Comcast thinks TWC's asking price of $160 a share is too high, while the latter isn't interested in selling itself in a piecemeal fashion.
Charter is willing to let Comcast have TWC's New York-area cable systems in exchange for Comcast backing Charter's bid. The New York network would fit in nicely with Comcast's operations in Connecticut and New Jersey.
Comcast (CMCSA) and Charter (CHTR) have reportedly discussed breaking up Time Warner Cable (TWC) in any joint bid for the company in order to overcome antitrust objections to a deal.
The transaction would resemble Comcast's and Time Warner's acquisition of Adelphia Communications in 2006, when Comcast gained 1.7M customers and Time Warner 3.3M.
A break-up of Time Warner would also make it easier for Charter to gain financing, given that it's much smaller than Time Warner.
Meanwhile, the NYTcarries a profile of John Malone, whose Liberty Media (LMCA) owns 27% of Charter. The article reports that Time Warner Cable has contacted Comcast about a possible transaction, leading to early talks.
Live Nation (LYV) has named Liberty Media (LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei as Chairman to replace Irving Azoff, who left in December to start an artist-representation firm. Liberty is Live Nation's largest shareholder with a 27% stake, and Maffei has been on the latter company's board since February 2011. (PR)