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?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: broadband, customer service, mergers, net neutrality
Companies: charter, comcast, time warner cable


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. 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.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.