By Liana B. Baker
LAS VEGAS Jan 8 Time Warner Cable Inc
shed 215,000 video subscribers in the fourth quarter but added
about 40,000 high-speed Internet home customers, its chief
financial officer said on Wednesday.
That marked an improvement from the third quarter for a
cable company that's the subject of takeover speculation. It
lost 304,000 video customers, almost double the number Wall
Street investors had expected, and 24,000 Internet users during
Chief Financial Officer Arthur Minson said the company has
seen favorable trends so far in January, after having added
60,000 subscribers in December - 40,000 more than it managed in
the same month a year earlier.
"Seven of the last eight weeks have been a little bit better
than last year so we have our mojo back on the subscriber side,
and we're very optimistic as we head into the year," Minson told
an investor conference held on the sidelines of the Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Liberty Media Corp, which has a large stake in
cable operator Charter Communications Inc, has made no
secret of its pursuit of No.2 cable provider Time Warner Cable,
which is being circled by other suitors such as Comcast Corp
and privately held Cox, industry sources have said.
Liberty Chairman John Malone argues new managers such as
Charter Chief Executive Tom Rutledge could do a better job
running the company, which has suffered some of the industry's
worst subscriber losses in past years.
Malone, whose Liberty Media owns 27 percent of Charter
Communications, the country's fourth largest cable operator, is
expected to make a bid to buy Time Warner Cable in coming weeks.
Comcast, the nation's largest, is mulling a bid as well.
If a company comes along with an offer that is better than
the value the company can create on its own, "that's something
we need to take a hard look at," Minson said on Wednesday.
But he added any deal would have a "high bar."