Comcast is buying Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion in an all-stock deal which means that money will not be changing hands.
The move will merge the US's two largest cable operators into a super cable outfit and it is not clear if it will even sneak by the regulator.
It is also surprising because the friendly takeover comes as a surprise after months of public pursuit of Time Warner Cable by smaller rival Charter Communications.
Comcast will pay $158.82 per share, which is roughly what Time Warner Cable demanded from Charter
The combined company would divest three million subscribers, about a quarter of Time Warner's 12 million customers, the people said. Together with Comcast's 22 million video subscribers, the roughly 30 million total would represent a third of the US pay telly video market. The nearest rival is DirecTV, which has about 20 million video customers.
Geography is the important side of the deal. The pair are concentrated in different cities. Comcast would fill in its New Jersey and Connecticut portfolio with Time Warner Cable's New York City customers, for instance, and add major markets such as Los Angeles and Dallas.
They would create $1.5 billion in operating savings, with 50 percent of those savings expected in the first year, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is not yet public.