(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

(c) 2013, Bloomberg News.

NEW YORK Time Warner Cable, the second- largest cable company in the U.S., reported third-quarter profit that topped estimates as revenue from residential broadband consumers climbed.

Net income fell 34 percent to $532 million, or $1.84 a share, in the three months ended in September, from $808 million, or $2.60, a year earlier, the New York-based company said Thursday in a statement. Excluding one-time costs, earnings per share were $1.69, surpassing the $1.64 average analyst estimate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue from residential high-speed Internet subscribers rose 14 percent in the period to $1.46 billion from a year earlier, while the number of subscribers was little changed at about 11 million compared with the previous three months. Time Warner Cable dropped 306,000 video subscribers as the broader cable industry continues to face increased competition from newer video providers such as AT&T Inc. and streaming services such as Netflix Inc.

Time Warner Cable is facing pressure from billionaire John Malone, who has discussed the idea of combining the company with Charter Communications Inc. Malone's holding company, Liberty Media Corp., is the largest shareholder in Charter. After acquiring a 27 percent stake in the Stamford, Connecticut-based cable company, Malone said he wanted Charter to be "a horizontal acquisition machine."

"The main thing with Time Warner is whether their earnings are good or bad, you still have John Malone lurking in the shadows, waiting for an opportunity," Craig Moffett, founder of research firm MoffettNathanson LLC, said in an interview before the earnings report.

Malone's overtures to Time Warner Cable signal possible consolidation in the industry. Pay-TV companies are having to pay more to carry programming from the major cable and broadcast networks.

Time Warner Cable recently agreed to pay a significant increase for the right to carry CBS Corp. programming, ending a dispute that caused a month-long blackout in the quarter. Cable customers in Dallas, New York and Los Angeles missed some of CBS's popular programming such as "Under the Dome" and "60 Minutes" as a result of the dispute.

The stock has gained 20 percent this year.

Sales gained 2.9 percent in the quarter to $5.52 billion, just short of the $5.54 billion average estimate.

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