Liberty Media's Malone Says Cable Consortium Could Buy T-Mobile

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John Malone, Liberty Media chairman
John Malone, Liberty Media chairman Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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Liberty Media Corp. Chairman John Malone said the Trump Presidency could open a new era of consolidation and raised the possibility that three major cable TV companies could join forces and enter the wireless business by acquiring T-Mobile U.S. Inc.

Speaking at a Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. investor event, the cable billionaire said he expects less-restrictive regulatory oversight from the incoming Donald Trump administration. Mr. Malone, 75, became one of the largest shareholders of Lions Gate, a film and TV company, through its purchase of his Starz cable networks.

As business lines begin to blur with phone providers like AT&T Inc. offering live TV over broadband, Mr. Malone said a cable industry response could be possible. AT&T, the owner of DirecTV, recently agreed to buy Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion, a deal that will require regulatory approval from the new administration.

"Maybe the three major cable companies get together and buy T-Mobile," Mr. Malone said. "One could contemplate in a Trump administration Comcast and Charter could merge," he said, referring to the No. 1 and No. 2 cable TV providers.

Lions Gate, producer of the Golden Globe-winning film "La La Land" and "Orange Is the New Black" on Netflix, is a new addition to Mr. Malone's media investment portfolio, which includes Charter Communications Inc., Liberty Global Plc, Discovery Communications Inc. and Live Nation Entertainment Inc.

With the Starz acquisition, Lions Gate acquired a premium pay-TV network to go with its film and TV production capabilities.

"Lions Gate is wonderfully positioned to be the gravitational center of the consolidation of free radicals," Mr. Malone said.

-Bloomberg News

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