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Washington Post: The Darth Vader of telecom is back

An original pioneer of cable, John Malone, is back. And at 74 years old and with a vast fortune, he’s poised to position himself at the center of the cable industry’s painful and dramatic transition to the Internet.

It’s been more than two decades since Malone, the largest shareholder of Charter Communications, was involved in the cable business in a major way. Back then, he was in charge of Tele-Communications Inc. and had led an epic buying spree of cable companies to compete with over-the-air broadcast television.

He turned out to be right about cable disrupting television, but his ambitions for growth hit a wall, partly because of Washington regulators’ concern about the industry’s growing power. Since then, the aggressive dealmaker, who Al Gore once called the Darth Vader of telecom, has turned his attention to deals in Europe and his vast landholdings, including a castle in Ireland.

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