Charter Acquires Time Warner Cable, Promises It Will Suck Less Than Blocked Comcast Merger

from the Godzilla-eats-Mothra dept

Driven by the relentless M&A lust of company chair and cable industry mainstay John Malone, Charter Communications has announced that the company will be spending $55 billion to acquire Time Warner Cable. Malone and Charter had been pursuing Time Warner Cable for two years, but found their ambitions blocked when Comcast made a better offer. With Comcast's merger attempt blocked by federal regulators, Charter got a second chance. The deal was accompanied with the usual assortment of prepared CEO statements promising that this merger will surely be the one that magically makes the cable industry suck less:
"The teams at Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are filled with the innovators of our industry...That spirit of innovation will live on, and it will create real benefits and great long-term value for the customers, shareholders and employees of all three companies," said Tom Rutledge, President and CEO of Charter Communications. "With our larger reach, we will be able to accelerate the deployment of faster Internet speeds, state-of-the-art video experiences, and fully–featured voice products, at highly competitive prices."

"With today's announcement, we have delivered on our commitment to maximizing shareholder value," said Robert D. Marcus, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable. "This agreement recognizes the unique value of Time Warner Cable, and brings together three great companies that share a common philosophy of strong operations, great products, robust network investment and putting customers first."
Yes, putting "customers first" is surely why Time Warner Cable has the worst customer satisfaction rankings not only in telecom, but in any U.S. industry. In fact, it's exactly the cable industry's relentless love for mergers and acquisitions that has resulted in cable operators growing so quickly, they're unable to scale their customer service systems accordingly. Meanwhile, the lack of competition in many markets means there's little incentive to actually improve, and any cost savings from greater size and leverage certainly won't be passed on to consumers. Combine that with the job losses as companies eliminate redundancies, and you've generally got deals that benefit nobody outside of Wall Street.

While this deal probably won't improve much of anything for cable customers, it's generally agreed that it's not as horrendously awful as the Comcast merger -- simply because the combined company won't have quite the same programming and advertising clout as mega-Comcast would have had. Comcast itself sent a short, two-sentence statement to the media saying the deal makes "all the sense in the world" (you know it must be good if Comcast signed off on it). In fact, reports suggest FCC boss Tom Wheeler personally called the heads of Charter and Time Warner Cable to assure them their deal would likely be approved.

That said, it's still a massive deal. In addition to acquiring Time Warner Cable for $55 billion, the combined company will also be acquiring the nation's sixth-largest cable operator: Bright House Networks, for an additional $10.3 billion. The new, combined company will serve 23.9 million customers in 41 states, and become the second largest cable operator in the nation behind Comcast. Surely it's this merger that's going to prod the cable industry to offer the kind of "competitive prices," "state-of-the-art video experiences" and excellent customer service we've all been waiting for, right?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2015 @ 2:54pm

    Well crap.
    There was one thing I had going for me with the whole Comcast/Time Warner thing was that it didn't affect me.
    Unfortunately Charter is the only service available in my area (in the last 3 areas I lived actually). Now it's personal...

    When I hear "Charter acquires Time Warner" it doesn't illicit thoughts of increased speed, increased stability, increased uptime, improved customer service and a smaller bill. I immediately think the opposite. I think that every aspect of my service will get worse by this.

    Is it true? I don't know. But why do you think that this is the first and foremost thought to this acquisition? Am I in the wrong for thinking that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2015 @ 2:55pm

    Also, Time Warner is a filthy whore.
    It couldn't get with Comcast, so now it's trying to get with Comcast's brother, Charter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    That One Other Not So Random Guy, 26 May 2015 @ 3:22pm

    it's generally agreed that it's not as horrendously awful as the Comcast merger

    A slap in the face instead of a kick in the nuts. Yay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2015 @ 3:25pm

      Re: it's generally agreed that it's not as horrendously awful as the Comcast merger

      This is what America has turned into.

      "At least it's not as bad as the alternative."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2015 @ 3:45pm

        Re: Re: it's generally agreed that it's not as horrendously awful as the Comcast merger

        That is what the supporters of both parties say, and wonder why things only get worse.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          That One Other Not So Random Guy, 26 May 2015 @ 4:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: it's generally agreed that it's not as horrendously awful as the Comcast merger

          Kang and Kodos 2016!!!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Random Element, 28 May 2015 @ 3:03pm

      Re: it's generally agreed that it's not as horrendously awful as the Comcast merger

      Is it possible the Comcast side show was just a distraction to get this approved?
      If not for the dread of seeing the TWC and Comcast merger, would this have faced greater bush back?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2015 @ 3:22pm

    boring.

    Yeah lets keep doing the same thing hoping for a different result...oh wait.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TDR, 26 May 2015 @ 3:24pm

    Companies shouldn't be allowed to buy other companies in the first place. Corporate personhood has to go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2015 @ 3:26pm

      Re:

      If people can't legally own people, why are corporations who are 'people' allowed to own other corporations who are 'people'?

      If they want to be a person, they get the downsides too.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 26 May 2015 @ 3:24pm

    finally some honesty

    They admitted who they really serve:

    "With today's announcement, we have delivered on our commitment to maximizing shareholder value," said Robert D. Marcus, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Blackfiredragon13 (profile), 26 May 2015 @ 3:29pm

    Can't be much worse, unless their technicians all turn into serial killers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Agonistes (profile), 26 May 2015 @ 3:41pm

    Sh!%

    The crappiness of these companies is a subject which has my rapt attention since I'm a relatively pleased Charter customer, as bad as it is...things can only get worse with Time/Warner. Damn, I thought Charter just got out of bankruptcy, how the hell is this even happening?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PRMan, 26 May 2015 @ 3:42pm

    Charter Cable reviews

    When I type "Charter Cable review" into Google, I actually get lower ratings on Yelp than "Time Warner Cable review". So, it doesn't sound like things are going to improve much...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 26 May 2015 @ 4:35pm

    Pardon my ignorance but wasn't a law passed a long time ago against corporations forming trusts by essentially forming into mega corporations.

    I think teddy Roosevelt passed it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvZP93XqyTw

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ae4a78da@opayq.com, 26 May 2015 @ 5:01pm

    Not official yet

    This merger cannot be official yet, It is most likely gonna get blocked as well, Who said that this deal is in the pan>? There is going to be a fight to block this as well as the comcast one, come on now guys.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2015 @ 7:46pm

    This merger is too big to fail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Utterly Clueless (profile), 27 May 2015 @ 2:52am

    Bright House?

    This is the one that kind of perplexes me ... does anyone have experience with this company? Why were they in the mix?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rocco Maglio (profile), 27 May 2015 @ 5:24am

      Re: Bright House?

      My understanding is Brighthouse was spun out of Time Warner when they merged with AOL. The Newhouse family had a large investment with Time Warner and were allowed to take several Time Warner markets and form a new company, since they opposed the merger. Brighthouse still relies on Time Warner for infrastructure, so I makes sense for them to be sold together.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 27 May 2015 @ 5:24am

      Re: Bright House?

      They're headquartered in NY State but have a huge footprint in Florida and a few other States. Time Warner Cable already does all of their programming negotiations and some networking management for them as they used to both operate under the Roadrunner brand and have been tied at the hip for years, so a deal kind of makes sense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 27 May 2015 @ 3:25am

    So, in other words, rather than have 4 of the country's ISPs, there will now be 3.

    Competition wins again. Just not for consumers, who'll now be trapped in further price fixing/gouging with even less options to choose a provider.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robmak3, 27 May 2015 @ 4:09am

    Time warner sucks. Charter OK?

    I'm with time warner. 200 Mbps down is usually 1/6 of that at max, so should I stay with them for more than the next few months before I move (Shit building contracts TW has)? I'm in NYC, there's also crap customer service Fios, and RCN which I never tried. Which should I go with?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 May 2015 @ 10:34am

    Why does one of the massive companies have to buy the other at all? If one is in danger of failing, then let it fail. If it comes down to it, let it get dispersed by other operators or simply let the void in the market be filled by a new entrant.

    Encouraging these large mergers is supporting job losses when the redundant positions get cut out. Force competition and company growth instead. It works so much better in the long run that way too....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 27 May 2015 @ 10:40am

    Talk about low bars.

    I can't imagine a standard of suckage lower than the TW / Comcast merger.

    But I haven't had coffee yet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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