The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday said it would allow Charter Communications’ planned acquisitions of Time Warner Cable Inc. and Bright House Networks to proceed, with certain conditions.
The combination would create the nation’s second-largest cable company behind Comcast, and third-largest multichannel video programming distributor, after Comcast and AT&T.
The DOJ, which valued the deal for Time Warner at $78 billion and acquisition of Bright House at $10.4 billion, said in a release that a settlement permitting the acquisitions forbids the merged company, referred to as “New Charter,” from entering into or enforcing agreements that could make it more difficult for online video distributors to obtain video content from programmers. The settlement also prohibits New Charter from retaliating against programmers for licensing to online video distributors.
In connection with the DOJ’s announcement, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Monday that an order recommending approval of the Charter/TWC/Bright House Networks transaction has circulated to the commissioners, “based on imposed conditions that will ensure a competitive video marketplace and increase broadband deployment.” The five commissioners now must vote on Wheeler’s recommendation.
The deal also still needs to be approved by California regulators.