We caught up with Liberty Media Chairman John Malone at the Allen & Co. conference, where he called for massive consolidation in the cable business.
"Comcast is large enough to, we think, do OK. The rest of the industry needs consolidation in our view in order to get more scale economics," Malone said. "Whether A merges with B, or B buys A, or A and B and C get together to form a joint venture to do things that have to be done, in larger scale. Some people have interpreted that to mean [Time Warner Cable] should be a player in it, and they probably should. They should be a consolidator because they're the second biggest," said Malone, who made the comments at the annual Sun Valley, Idaho, gathering.
Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt so far has rebuffed Malone's advances. Sources tell me Britt thinks a deal wouldn't be beneficial for shareholders.
But it's clear Malone hasn't lost interest in striking a deal. Malone already owns 27 percent of Charter Communications, and in addition to Time Warner Cable, is also looking at Cablevision, and Cox, which is private.
Malone's big focus is scale economics, and it's not just cable. He's also eyeing growth in satellite TV, saying he thinks DirecTV and Dish should merge. "In order to improve the services to the consumer, you need to be larger. I'm not saying monopoly players, but you need larger players, who are able to make bigger, longer-term investments." DirecTV and Dish have not commented publicity on Malone's call for consolidation in the space.