Charter-TWC Deal Said to Win Enough Votes to Clear U.S. FCC

California Regulators Set to Vote on May 12

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Time Warner Cable Inc. store in New York
Time Warner Cable Inc. store in New York Credit: Michael Nagle

Charter Communications Inc.'s purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. has won approval from a majority at the Federal Communications Commission, a person familiar with the vote said. The development leaves assent from California as the final regulatory hurdle for the $55.1 billion deal.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler last week publicly supported the deal, and it has since gained approval from two more members of the five-person FCC in voting conducted in private, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the result hasn't been made public. There's no schedule for the remaining commissioners to vote on the deal; after they do so the agency can publish the result. Shannon Gilson, a spokeswoman for the FCC, declined to comment.

Justice Department antitrust officials earlier said they had approved the merger to create a company with 24 million customers in 41 states.

The Justice Department and FCC set restrictions designed to prevent Charter from interfering with online video that competes with cable channel entertainment packages.

The enlarged Charter would supplant Time Warner Cable as the second-largest U.S. cable operator, gaining 13 million customers in cities including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Charter last year agreed to acquire New York-based Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks LLC, a cable company based in Syracuse, N.Y., for $55.1 billion and $10.4 billion, respectively, according to prices at the time. The deal came together after top U.S. cable provider Comcast Corp.'s plan to buy Time Warner Cable collapsed amid opposition from regulators concerned over Comcast's control of broadband.

California regulators are to vote on Charter's merger May 12, and the deal could close within days of approval there, Charter Chief Executive Officer Tom Rutledge told investors April 28.

--Bloomberg News

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