updated 05:03 pm EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Charter swept up in FCC info dragnet, September 11 deadline for submissions
A request for information from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been submitted to Comcast and Time Warner Cable, demanding the pair detail its Internet and programming agreements before the merger is approved. Information sought includes broadcast deals with sports leagues, Internet network management such as that with Netflix traffic, consumer data caps, and other information deemed vital which may impact relations with customers should the deal be approved.
Charter Communications is also a recipient of the request for information by the FCC, as it will acquire customers from a company that Time Warner Cable and Comcast will spin off as part of the acquisition deal. All three companies are being held to a September 11 deadline for data relevant to the merger.
If completed, the new company will be led by Comcast CEO and President Neil Smit -- and though it will bring on 11 million managed TWC subscribers to Comcast's existing collection, it is prepared to divest systems serving approximately two million users, bringing the entire subscriber count to approximately 30 million accounts. The combined company is expected to achieve cost savings of around $1.5 billion, with both services also set to combine each others' products, such as the StartOver live program restart feature and the LookBack three-day archive function.
The purchase will see Comcast acquire 100 percent of TWC's 284.9 million shares, worth approximately $45.2 billion, with the stock-for-stock transaction exchanging each TWC share for approximately 2.875 CMCSA (Comcast) shares, or effectively $158.52 per TWC share.
The FCC has set a (non-binding) end date of January to evaluate the merger. It is allowing public comments to be made on the issue through October 8. Already chiming in on the merger are 52 mayors approving the deal, siding with Comcast agreeing with the supposition floated by the pair that there is no competition between the companies in any market.
Most Internet providers are against the deal, with Dish Network leading the charge against the merger. Major complaints opposing the merger are that a mega-conglomerate being formed would enable the quashing of competition, unfair negotiations with content providers hampering other companies, and further deterioration of already-bad customer service.