Shares of Charter Communications hit a record high on Monday, surging to $399.95 before closing at $391.91, up 5.8 percentage points, with its market cap increase being prompted by rumors of an acquisition bid from SoftBank. The Stamford, Connecticut-based cable giant has been negotiating with SoftBank's subsidiary Sprint and Comcast over a potential wireless partnership for the last two months, with the Japanese conglomerate reportedly considering a merger bid following that round of exclusive talks. Charter already publicly stated it has no intentions of merging with Sprint in any capacity, whether by acquiring the fourth largest mobile service provider in the United States or being acquired itself. It's unclear whether SoftBank already submitted a formal bid to the firm, though the rumors of its interest alone were enough to significantly increase Charter's value.
Some industry analysts previously speculated that SoftBank had no expectations of Charter agreeing to any kind of a merger and has simply submitted a bid in an effort to gain more leverage in its upcoming consolidation talks with T-Mobile that are expected to resume in the coming days after being put on hold for two months due to the aforementioned exclusivity negotiation period that Sprint agreed to enter alongside Comcast and Charter itself. Even if Charter was eager to merge, it wouldn't be able to do so without Comcast's approval until May 2018, with the two cable giants recently signing an agreement to not enter the wireless segment with another mobile service provider without each other's consent for a year. Charter didn't clarify on why it doesn't intend to merge with Sprint, though possible issues that the company could face by indulging that idea are numerous and range from a significant increase in leverage to additional complications of an already convoluted ownership structure of both firms.
Both Comcast and Charter already have an MVNO deal with Verizon Wireless but are still adamant to explore business opportunities with Sprint as the Overland Park, Kansas-based carrier is understood to be ready to offer them more favorable terms. Sprint is expected to continue pursuing merger opportunities in the coming months as the company continues its efforts to address its rising debt and highly leveraged operations.