The offer will consist of cash and stock valued at less than $135 a share — lower than the $150+ that some analysts anticipated — Bloomberg reports, citing “a person with knowledge of the matter.” That would be just marginally higher than the current trading price of about $131.75 and would amount to $38B not including debt. Normally a buyer would have to offer a substantial premium for an offer to be considered a “bear hug” — a bid that’s so high that the target company would be crazy to refuse. But Charter apparently will make the case that Time Warner Cable‘s operations are deteriorating, so it had better sell now. (TWC lost 304,000 video subscribers in Q3 which included more than a month without CBS.) Bloomberg adds that Comcast will see how TWC reacts to the Charter offer before deciding what it will do. It could launch a bidding war, offer to buy certain systems from Charter (such as TWC’s franchises in Manhattan and Los Angeles), or trade systems it owns for others it would prefer. John Malone, whose Liberty Media owns 27% of Charter, is one of the master minds behind the reported bid. But a successful offer would also be considered a coup for Charter’s advisers Goldman Sachs and Aryeh Bourkoff’s LionTree Advisors. The boutique investment bank turned heads over the last year after it helped Liberty Global buy UK’s Virgin Media and Warner Music Group buy Parlophone. Time Warner Cable shares are up about 35% in 2013 as investors became convinced that a buyout was coming.