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Charter pushes Priceline from ranking of top 10 media, communications companies

Charter Communications Inc. displaced Priceline Group Inc. as the 10th largest media and communications company by market capitalization for the second half of 2016, following Charter's completion of two massive deals in May 2016.

The other nine companies in the ranking by S&P Global Market Intelligence maintained their respective positions from the first half of the year, with Apple Inc. continuing to lead in the top spot.

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Charter had a market capitalization of $77.39 billion as 2016 came to a close. It recorded the largest percentage change in market cap among the top 10 companies in the second half of the year, at 24.9%, following its combination with Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks LLC. The twin deals transformed Charter into one of the largest U.S. cable and broadband companies, serving more than 25 million customers in 41 states.

Meanwhile, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. were the only two companies in the ranking that saw market cap declines from June 30, 2016, to Dec. 30, 2016.

AT&T saw its stock pull back after the company in October 2016 announced a $106.83 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Inc. After some turbulent trading in late October and early November, the stock regained its upward momentum later in the year. The shares ended 2016 down 2% for the second half but up nearly 24% for the full year. AT&T ended 2016 with a market cap of $261.18 billion, down 1.7% from where it stood at June 30, 2016.

Verizon registered an even larger decline, as its market cap fell 4.4% in the second half of 2016, to $217.61 billion. The company faced some revenue pressure during the year following a shift in strategy with the roll out of new lower-priced skinny bundles. Verizon on Jan. 24 reported total operating revenues for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $32.34 billion, down 5.6% from $34.25 billion in the comparable 2015 period. Wireless revenues were down 1.5% year over year to $23.4 billion, a decline the company attributed to more customers continuing to choose unsubsidized device payment plans.

Apple retained the top spot with a market cap of $608.96 billion, up 18.1% despite taking a few hits during the second half of 2016. The iPhone maker saw some volatility in its market cap during the month of September 2016, soon after the iPhone 7 was launched, but it recovered by year's end.

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