Charter Shares Hit All-Time High as Internet Growth Accelerates

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(Bloomberg) -- Charter Communications Inc. rose to an all-time high after the cable giant added more internet customers than expected.

Charter, the second-largest U.S. cable operator, gained 351,000 internet subscribers in the third quarter. That topped Wall Street expectations and was 32% more internet additions than Charter gained in the same quarter a year ago.

Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, called Charter’s internet growth “remarkably strong,” adding that “this result will almost certainly be the highlight of the quarter.”

On Thursday, Comcast Corp. reported that it added 379,000 internet customers last quarter, also topping analysts’ expectations. Taken together, the results are a sign the cable industry is weathering the rise of TV cord-cutting by adding high-speed internet subscribers at a rapid clip.

Charter Shares Hit All-Time High as Internet Growth Accelerates

Charter also lost 77,000 cable-TV customers in the quarter. Cable companies have largely given up on offering promotional rates to keep less-profitable video subscribers. That’s helped accelerate the trend in cord-cutting.

Charter’s quarterly revenue of $11.45 billion beat analysts’ estimates of $11.41 billion.

Charter shares rose as much as 7.6% to $468.20 in New York trading, their biggest increase since Jan. 31.

The results are a sign that Charter’s strategy of taking internet market share rather than boosting prices has started to pay off. The company, which acquired Time Warner Cable in 2016, offers the lowest internet prices among the major cable companies, according to Moffett.

However, the company boosted prices earlier this month after the third quarter ended, calling into question whether it can keep adding internet customers at the same pace.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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