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Charter Communications' Twin Buyouts Clear Final Hurdle

Charter Communications, Inc. CHTR recently received California Public Utilities Commission’s approval with regards to its planned buyouts of Time Warner Cable Inc. TWC and Bright House Networks.

Notably, subject to the remaining customary closing conditions, Charter Communications expects both the transactions to close around May 18.

In May 2015, Charter Communications had reached an agreement to buy Time Warner Cable for $78.7 billion, including debt. The value of the stock portion of the deal has been pegged at $55.76 billion after taking Time Warner Cable's outstanding diluted share count, as of Mar 31, 2015, into account.

Additionally, Charter Communications entered into an acquisition deal with Bright House Networks – the sixth largest U.S. cable operator – valued at $10.4 billion.

The FCC Obliged

Recently, on May 6, Charter Communications got the much anticipated green signal from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning the deals.

Notably, the FCC had earlier thwarted Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA attempt to take over Time Warner Cable as the combined entity would have controlled 35% of the U.S. pay-TV market (exceeding the FCC limit of 30% share) and almost 60% of the high-speed broadband (Internet) market.

Though the Charter Communications-Time Warner Cable deal was closely scrutinized by the FCC, the regulatory body gave its approval. We note that, the merged entity of Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, once formed, will jointly serve 23.9 million customers across 41 states. The figure is duly below the market share limit set by the FCC.

Meanwhile, in Jul 2015, U.S. telecom behemoth AT&T, Inc. T scaled up to the highest position in the U.S. pay-TV market with the acquisition of DIRECTV.

Bottom Line

The approval of Charter Communications-Time Warner Cable deal is a win-win situation for both the companies. Time Warner Cable, together with most of the cable TV operators in the U.S., is getting gradually marginalized by the fiber-based video offerings of telecom giants and the online video streaming services of low-cost operators.

On the other hand, the alliance will benefit Charter Communications in terms of geographic expansion and operating cost synergies, which in turn, will boost its bottom line and free cash flow.

Interestingly, after the completion of the deal, Charter Communications would be elevated to the position of second-largest cable MSO in the U.S. after Comcast.

Both Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable currently have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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AT&T INC (T): Free Stock Analysis Report
COMCAST CORP A (CMCSA): Free Stock Analysis Report
TIME WARNER CAB (TWC): Free Stock Analysis Report
CHARTER COMM-A (CHTR): Free Stock Analysis Report
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