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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 Wins Request That Could Speed California Deal Review

Originally appeared in Bloomberg
By Todd Shields
February 11, 2016

Charter Communications Inc. won its request for California to skip a hearing on the cable company’s bid for Time Warner Cable Inc., a step toward quicker judgment from a state set to lag behind a U.S. review of the $55.1 billion merger.

An administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday granted Charter’s request to forgo a hearing Feb. 17-18, and he set a date for a final decision May 12 after receiving briefs in March. Previously the agency had foreseen a final decision on June 10.

The change “has no bearing on the outcome” and “merely makes it possible to shorten somewhat the schedule,” Terrie Prosper, director for news and public information at the agency, said in an e-mail before the ruling was released.

Charter has pushed for a quicker review from California. “We appreciate today’s ruling which should allow us to close the pending transaction more quickly,” Tamara Smith, a Washington-based spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

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Charter-Time Warner Cable Merger Debated In PUC Hearing

Originally appeared in Los Angeles Times
January 27, 2016
By: Meg James

Charter Communications’ massive merger — which would roll three cable companies into one — cleared a hurdle Tuesday night when California regulators held a marathon hearing to gather public comment.

Charter’s $67-billion plan to buy Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks — two large California providers — attracted dozens of enthusiastic supporters and some vocal critics at the four-hour hearing in downtown Los Angeles.

No decision on the deal was reached. But dozens of community groups from Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, San Diego County, Long Beach and the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys urged a PUC commissioner and an administrative law judge who is overseeing the matter to approve Charter’s take-over plans.

Charter has pledged to expand a program to provide affordable Internet service for some of Southern California’s poor residents — a key selling point of the deal, particularly among community group leaders who showed up in force on Tuesday.

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