Verizon exploring deal with cable company Charter: WSJ

© Reuters. The Verizon logo is seen on one of their retail stores in San Diego, California© Reuters. The Verizon logo is seen on one of their retail stores in San Diego, California

(Reuters) – Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:), the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier, is exploring a combination with cable company Charter Communications Inc (NASDAQ:), the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam made a preliminary approach to officials close to Charter and the company is working with advisers to study a potential transaction, the Journal said.

The WSJ added that it was unclear if Charter’s executives would be open to a transaction and that there was no guarantee that a deal would be struck.

Charter declined to comment, while Verizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Charter’s shares surged nearly 9 percent to a record high of $ 338, before easing to trade up 6.4 percent at $ 330 on Thursday. Verizon’s shares were down 1.6 percent at $ 49.

Verizon had a market capitalization of $ 203 billion as of Wednesday’s close, while Charter was valued at nearly $ 84 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

A Verizon-Charter combination would bring together Verizon’s more than 114 million wireless subscribers with Charter’s cable network, which provides television to 17 million customers and broadband connections to 21 million, the Journal said.

Verizon’s traditional wireless business has been losing customers to smaller rivals T-Mobile U.S. Inc and Sprint Corp and the company has been looking to diversify its revenue stream.

To that end, Verizon struck a deal to buy Yahoo (NASDAQ:) Inc’s core internet properties. But, the deal has been cast into doubt after Yahoo disclosed data breaches last year.

Charter completed its acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc last year.

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