Charter-TWC Deal Said to Advance With Plan for Vote at FCC

  • FCC chief said to ask commissioners to approve the deal
  • Charter's $55 billion deal also needs approval from DOJ

Charter Inc.’s proposed $55.1 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. will advance as soon as Monday with the support of the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is to submit the deal for a vote by his fellow commissioners at the agency, where he leads the Democratic majority, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter hasn’t been made public. The chairman will seek restrictions on Charter’s behavior, known as conditions, said the person who didn’t provide details.

Neil Grace, an FCC spokesman, declined to comment. Tamara Smith, a Washington-based spokeswoman for Charter, declined to comment.

“We believe Charter has finally cleared its most important hurdle to-date, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in its pursuit,” BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield said in a note on Monday.

Charter is likely to have agreed to a seven-year period for conditions, longer than the three-year term it had hoped for, Greenfield said. Charter may have agreed to forgo charging subscribers more when they exceed a data threshold, and to allow online video providers such as Netflix Inc. to connect to its network without charge, Greenfield said.

Antitrust officials at the Justice Department continue to scrutinize the deal, which was proposed in May and would add about 13 million video customers to Charter’s 4.3 million subscribers to forge a new No. 2 cable provider, behind Comcast Corp.

California state authorities also plan a vote on whether to approve the deal.

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