In a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) released on Tuesday, the FCC approved, subject to certain conditions, the applications of Charter Communications, Inc., Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks for consent to the transfer of various FCC authorizations from Charter, TWC and Bright House to a new company known as New Charter.
As stated in the MO&O, the FCC’s decision to approve the transactions is based “on a careful review of the economic, documentary, and other record evidence,” including “a rigorous analysis of the potential harms and benefits to ensure that the proposed transaction serves the public interest, convenience, and necessity.” The Commission concluded that the deal is likely to “result in a number of . . . efficiencies and public benefits, including lower overhead and programming costs and increased enterprise competition.” To ensure that the benefits of the transaction outweigh any potential harms, the MO&O imposes various conditions on the merger “that ensure New Charter adheres more closely to Charter’s prior consumer-friendly approach.” According to Charter, many of these conditions “either codified or reflected specific commitments Charter offered proactively at the beginning of the transaction review process.”
Observing that “the significant benefits of these transactions are clear; greater competition, more consumer and OTT [over-the-top] friendly broadband policies, broader access to affordable broadband, and added U.S. jobs,” Charter Communications President Tom Rutledge thanked the FCC’s commissioners as he predicted that New Charter “will be a stronger competitor in the broadband and video markets, well positioned to deliver these benefits and more to consumers.”