Technology

Charter Communications proposes $55 billion Time Warner Cable merger; acquires Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion

MANATEE -- On Tuesday, Charter Communications proposed a merger with Time Warner Cable and the acquisition of Advance/Newhouse, the parent company of Bright House Networks.

The reported $55.33 billion deal with Time Warner and $10.4 billion acquisition of Advance/Newhouse would create a technology and broadband powerhouse with nearly 24 million customers in 41 states.

The deal values each of the Time Warner shares at $195.71 and the entire company at $78.7 billion including debt, according to a Charter release.

The Time Warner and Advance/Newhouse deals are expected to close at the same time.

Senior director of corporate communications for Bright House Networks Joe Durkin said Bradenton-area customers will not see any immediate changes in products or services.

"We're excited about it because we're bringing the best of Charter, Time Warner and Bright House Networks together to focus on innovation, technology and customer service that will ultimately benefit our customers," Durkin said. He added there will be no change in the partnership and broadcasting Bay News 9.

Charter will offer $100 in cash and shares of new parent company New Charter equal to .5409 of Charter for each Time Warner share outstanding. Tom Rutledge, CEO and president of Charter Communications, will serve as the president and CEO of New Charter.

"We will drive greater competition through further deployment of new competitive facilities-based wifi net

works in public places, and the expansion of the facilities footprint of optical networks to serve the large-, small- and medium-sized business services marketplace," Rutledge said in a statement. "New Charter will capitalize on technology to create and maintain a more effective and efficient service model."

Robert D. Marcus, CEO and chairman of Time Warner, said in a release the merger will "only accelerate the great operating momentum we've seen over the last year and provide enormous opportunities for our 55,000 dedicated employees."

The deal between Charter and Time Warner is dependent upon government approval. Comcast ventured to buy Time Warner for $45.2 billion this year, but regulators squashed the deal over antitrust concerns.

Time Warner rejected a previous $38 million offer made by Charter in favor of the Comcast deal.

In a statement, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said the FCC will determine if the Charter and Time Warner deal "would be in the public interest."

"In applying the public interest test, an absence of harm is not sufficient," Wheeler said in the statement. "The commission will look to see how American consumers would benefit if the deal were to be approved."

Janelle O'Dea, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

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