Time Warner Cable, awaiting regulatory clearance to merge with Charter Communications, posted second-quarter profit that missed analysts' estimates as program, sales and marketing costs rose.
The cable company shed 45,000 video subscribers, its smallest second-quarter loss since 2008, to end the quarter with 10.8 million TV customers. It added 172,000 residential broadband users.
This is the first earnings report since Time Warner Cable agreed to be acquired by Charter Communications for $55.1 billion, creating the second-largest cable and broadband provider in the U.S, with 24 million customers. The deal, which needs approval from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the blessing of the Justice Department, came just weeks after Comcast dropped its $45.2 billion takeover bid for Time Warner Cable in April in the face of opposition from the same agencies. Time Warner expects the deal to close by the end of the year.
The price differential between Time Warner and Charter's stock, however, indicates that the market is still "baking in a heavy dose of skepticism" about whether the deal will close, said Amy Yong, an analyst with Macquarie Capital in New York.
Shares of Time Warner Cable increased less than 1% to $190.78 in New York. Charter rose 1.2% to $186.60.
As the number of Americans paying for cable TV declines, Time Warner Cable has responded by offering consumers cheaper bundles of services -- cable, internet and phone. It also has invested in improving its high-speed internet network as younger viewers increasingly stream TV shows on the web.
The company, meanwhile, faces rising costs for airing football, basketball and other games. Its customers this year had a $2.75 monthly charge added to their bills for sports programming.
Time Warner Cable's net income fell to $463 million from $499 million. Earnings excluding some items dropped to $1.54 a share. Analysts had estimated $1.80. Sales gained 3.5% to $5.93 billion, the New York-based cable company said in a statement Thursday. Analysts had projected $5.94 billion.