California Judge Recommends Approval Of Charter-Time Warner Cable Deal

Originally appeared in Los Angeles Times
By: Meg James and Yvonne Villarreal
April 12, 2016

Charter Communications‘ blockbuster deal to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks cleared a major hurdle Tuesday when a California administrative judge recommended approval of the deal.

Administrative Law Judge Karl Bemesderfer, in a 74-page opinion, recommended that the California Public Utilities Commission approve Charter’s takeover plans, but he attached a long list of conditions designed to ensure that the cable consolidation carries benefits to the public.

The proposed $67-billion plan would make Charter the dominant pay-TV and Internet service provider in Southern California with more than 2 million customer homes.
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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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Calif. ALJ Recommends Approving Charter/TWC

Originally appeared in Multichannel News
By: John Eggerton
April 12, 2016

A California administrative law judge (ALJ) has recommended that the states Public Utilities Commission approve the Charter-Time Warner Cable/Brighthouse deal, with a bunch of conditions on the operation of their respective systems in the state.

The PUC still has to vote — the decision is likened to an FCC order that must be voted to be approved — and the decision has no legal effect by itself, but Judge Karl Bemesderfer’s decision was another hurdle cleared for the deal.

The next opportunity for the PUC to vote will be its May 12 meeting.
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Charter Backs FCC Lifeline Reform

Originally Appeared In Multichannel News
March 31, 2016
By: John Eggerton

Says it expects it will make it easier for cable ops to participate

Charter signaled Wednesday (March 30) that he is squarely behind FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to reform Lifeline subsidies

Charter, which is awaiting its hoped-for FCC approval of the merger with Time Warner Cable, announced as part of that proposed deal that it would offer a new low cost broadband service for low income consumers if the deal is approved.

Lifeline is the subsidy for advanced telecommunications to low-income residents that the FCC is migrating from traditional phone to broadband service. A vote on that proposal is scheduled for March 31.

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Cable Merger Good For Minorities: Letters

Originally appeared in Orlando Sentinel
March 10, 2016

Washington, D.C.-insider and attorney John Bergmayer, in his Saturday guest column (“Orlandoans will lose if cable companies merge”), outlined a parade of horribles for city residents if Charter Communications completes its proposed acquisition of Bright House Networks.

He misses, however, the multitude of benefits this merger would provide to multicultural communities, programmers, content creators, consumers and would-be employees of the new cable company.

Charter Communications recently signed a memorandum of understanding with 12 multicultural leadership organizations representing African-American, Hispanic and Asian-Pacific Islander constituencies across the country. It includes provisions for the new company to improve diversity in the areas of corporate governance, employment/work-force recruitment and retention, procurement, programming and philanthropy/community investment.

Read more here.

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GOP Reps Back Charter, TWC

Originally appeared in Broadcasting and Cable

By: John Eggerton

March 10, 2016

As the FCC and DOJ drilldown on a decision, expected as early as two weeks from now, on whether or not to approve or deny the Charter/Time Warner Cable merger, a quintet of Republican legislators want to help them make the decision.

In letters to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the five, all members of the house Energy & Commerce Committee, said that they had been following the transaction closely, that it had “significant public interest benefits, and that they urged “swift approval.”

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NYC OKs TWC Franchise Transfer to Charter

Originally appeared in Multichannel News
March 9, 2016

In another positive sign for the Charter-Time Warner Cable deal, the City of New York’s franchise review committee has approved the transfer of the TWC franchises to Charter.

The Franchise Concession and Review Committee met March 7 and have signed off on the transfer of the franchises, according to a draft copy provided to Multichannel News.

At issue were five franchises in Queens, Northern and Southern Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Read more here.

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New York City Approves Time Warner Cable-Charter Merger

Originally appeared in Bloomberg Business
March 9, 2016

Charter Communications Inc. won approval from New York City to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc., inching closer to becoming the second-largest cable operator in the country.

The city’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee approved the transfer of its contracts between the companies during a public meeting on Wednesday. New York state’s Public Service Commission regulators had given the deal a green light in January after Charter committed to increase broadband speeds, expand network access in low-income communities and improve customer service. The city’s approval came after a separate review process to determine if the acquisition is in the public interest.

“We are pleased that this merger between Charter and Time Warner Cable is moving forward in a way that ensures they will meet all franchise obligations, and as well as the conditions set forth by the PSC –- and advocated for by the city –- with respect to broadband speed, cost, and availability and job protections,” Maya Wiley, counsel to the mayor, said in a statement Wednesday.

Read more here.

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