The long followed Charter-TWC merger went through last week, after the former acquired TWC for $56 billion, six days after clearing their last regulatory obstacle. Charter also bagged Bright House Networks for $10 billion inside the same deal, and is four times the size it used to be. The merger has placed charter as the new parent of the popular TWC News and NY1 channels, which will likely be rebranded under a new name.
The new company will be led by Charter CEO Tom Rutledge, who said in a statement that customers will not “see many changes right away, though in the coming months they will begin to hear more from us about the Spectrum brand.” Spokesperson Alex Dudley said in a Bloomberg News interview that the new company will go by the name of Charter, and added, “…products and services will be marketed under the ‘Spectrum’ brand.”
Charter first tried buying TWC in May 2015, when cable giant Comcast let off a similar effort due to heaps of regulatory issues (mostly FCC concerns about potential harm to online video services) tied to making a deal. Charter’s merger got FCC and the Department of Justice approval over the past month, and then California Public Utilities Commission approval last week. Under the deal, shareholders of former TWC got paid for their shares in company stock, at the rate of $100 in cash and about 0.54 of a share, per share. The Time Warner Cable brand has officially ended, having started out as part of the American Television and Communications Company that Warner Communications acquired in 1973.
The Federal regulations placed on the deal aimed at boosting broadband connection, and at preventing the newly remade Charter from monopolizing online video service. In the next five years, Charter will have to bring in broadband of speed no lower than 60Mbps download, to at least 2 million additional customer locations. Of these, 1 million connections should be in competition against at least one other high-speed provider.
There are more conditions, barring the merged company from putting data caps and overage fees on internet subscribers, as well as charging network interconnection charges on large online content providers. Charter will also have to keep from using contract clauses preventing programmers from releasing video to online services. These conditions will be in place for seven years.