California Judge Advances Charter Bid for Time Warner Cable

Originally appeared in Bloomberg
By Todd Shields
April 12, 2016

Charter Communications Inc.’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable Inc. cleared an important hurdle as an administrative law judge recommended California regulators approve the deal.

The merger still needs to clear U.S. authorities. California is the last state where it needs approval.

Administrative Law Judge Karl Bemesderfer concluded the merger is in the public interest in a decision distributed Tuesday by e-mail. He recommended approval by the California Public Utilities Commission, which could vote May 12.

If it succeeds in acquiring Time Warner Cable, Charter’s service would be available to nearly 6.4 million households in California, and the company would serve 87 percent of cable video subscribers in the Los Angeles market, according to testimony before the California agency.

Critics, including Dish Network Corp., which offers streaming video, told the California commission that Charter would be able to interfere with rival programming delivered over the Web. Charter told the state agency “there is no reason to be concerned” because the company views third-party services as keys to growth in demand for broadband service it sells.

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