Charter shares plunge after CFO says company may lose broadband subs

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Charter shares plunged more than 8% on Tuesday after its CFO Jessica Fischer said the company could lose broadband subscribers in the fourth quarter.

Charter competitor Comcast‘s stock also slipped more than 3% in midday trading.

“I can certainly see that it’s likely that we could end up with negative internet net adds inside of Q4,” Fischer said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. The company saw subscribers drop in October due in part to the effects of its dispute with Disney and higher interest rates, and November was “similarly soft,” Fischer said.

Charter added over 60,000 broadband customers in its third quarter this year. Comcast reported it lost 18,000 broadband subscribers in the third quarter.

Charter has invested billions in efforts to expand its broadband coverage to rural and underserved communities. The company spent $1.1 billion on line extensions in the third quarter, driven by rural expansion efforts.

But line expansions add little value when people aren’t buying homes. The housing market has suffered in recent months as buyers and sellers contend with rising interest rates and tight supply. Mortgage demand is also at its lowest point in nearly 30 years.

Even so, Fischer believes Charter will return to subscriber growth, citing a potential rebound in the housing market. Adding “value back into video,” referring to Disney and Charters deal to include Disney+ in some Spectrum plans, will also drive competitiveness for Charter, Fischer added.

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