Verizon Drops The Idea Of A Cable Acquisition, CEO Says

September 14, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Verizon “moved on” from the idea of making a cable acquisition, its Chief Executive Officer Lowell McAdam said on Thursday at the Goldman Sachs Annual Communacopia Conference, Deadline reports. The largest wireless carrier in the United States has long been rumored to acquire a cable operator, with industry insiders specifically claiming that the company is interested in taking over Charter, and while Mr. McAdam never denied that previous interest, it seems that the New Jersey-based company is now looking in a different direction in regards to its expansion plans. Verizon’s interest in a cable operator was said to have been tied to cable lines which the company might utilize to facilitate its deployment of 5G infrastructure, though its CEO now signaled that the mobile service provider is shifting its focus to fiber and related efforts.

Another important aspect of a potential cable acquisition lies in numerous diversification opportunities such a deal would open, with Verizon’s primary revenue stream still being tied to the increasingly saturated mobile market in the country. Its main competitor AT&T recently opted to make its operations less reliant on the wireless segment by proposing an $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner which is expected to be officially concluded by the end of the year, following mandatory regulatory approvals. Entering the cable segment would allow Verizon to possibly match that kind of a diversification move by AT&T, though it seems that the company is now interested in exploring another strategy and is instead focusing many of its resources on 5G development and deployment, as indicated by its CEO’s latest comments on the matter.

Mr. McAdam also suggested that Verizon is currently in the process of building a 5G network that won’t be affected by the ongoing battle between pay TV and cord-cutting services, implying how purchasing a cable operator would go against such a neutral and universal approach. The company’s current video ambitions are largely tied to Oath, a new unit created through the merger of AOL and Yahoo’s Internet business which Verizon acquired earlier this summer for $4.8 billion in cash. Oath will compete for digital advertising dollars with the likes of Google and Facebook and while Mr. McAdam is under no assumption that the division could beat either one of the two Internet giants, he believes that the market is big enough for everyone, especially since it’s still growing at a relatively steady pace.