It is official. Charter Communications announced plans to merge with Time Warner.
As rumored yesterday, Charter Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Charter to merge with Time Warner Cable. The deal values Time Warner Cable at $78.7 billion.
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Update: Comcast issued a statement about the Charter Time Warner Merger. Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said: "This deal makes all the sense in the world. I would like to congratulate all the parties."
Charter will provide $100.00 in cash and shares of a new public parent company ("New Charter") equivalent to 0.5409 shares of CHTR for each Time Warner Cable share outstanding. The deal values each Time Warner Cable share at approximately $195.71 based on Charter's market closing price on May 20, or approximately $200 based on Charter's 60-trading day volume weighted average price.
In addition, Charter will provide an election option for each Time Warner Cable stockholder, other than Liberty Broadband Corporation ("Liberty Broadband") or Liberty Interactive Corporation, who will receive all stock, to receive $115.00 of cash and New Charter shares equivalent to 0.4562 shares of CHTR for each Time Warner Cable share they own.
In addition, Charter and Advance/Newhouse Partnership (a parent of Bright House Networks, LLC) today announced that the two companies have amended the agreement which the two parties signed and announced on March 31, 2015, whereby Charter will acquire Bright House Networks ("Bright House") for $10.4 billion.
That agreement, as amended, provides for Charter and Advance/Newhouse to form a new partnership (the "Partnership") of which New Charter will own between approximately 86% and 87% and of which Advance/Newhouse will own between approximately 13% and 14%, depending on the Time Warner Cable shareholders' cash election option described above.
Charter also announced today that Liberty Broadband Corporation ("Liberty Broadband") has agreed to purchase, upon closing of the Time Warner Cable transaction, $4.3 billion of newly issued shares of New Charter at a price equivalent to $176.95 per Charter share, which represents Charter's closing price as of May 20, 2015. As previously-announced, Liberty Broadband will also purchase, upon closing of the Charter-Advance/Newhouse transaction, $700 million of newly issued Charter shares at a price equivalent to $173.00 per Charter share.
The combination of Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House will create a broadband services and technology company serving 23.9 million customers in 41 states.
"The teams at Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are filled with the innovators of our industry. Representatives of each of these companies have invented some of the most revolutionary communications products ever created; innovations like video on demand, VOIP phone service, remote storage DVR, cable TV through an app, downloadable security and the first backward-compatible, cloud-based user interface. 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. In addition, we will drive greater competition through further deployment of new competitive facilities-based WiFi networks in public places, and the expansion of the facilities footprint of optical networks to serve the large, small and medium sized business services marketplace. New Charter will capitalize on technology to create and maintain a more effective and efficient service model. Put simply, the scale of New Charter, along with the combined talents we can bring to bear, position us to deliver a communications future that will unleash the full power of the two-way, interactive cable network."
"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. This combination will only accelerate the great operating momentum we've seen over the last year and provide enormous opportunities for our 55,000 dedicated employees. We remain wholly committed to bringing the very best experience to our residential and business customers coast to coast."
New Charter will be led by Tom Rutledge, who will serve as President and CEO. Additionally, Mr. Rutledge will be offered a new five-year employment agreement. At the close of the transactions, New Charter's Board of Directors will consist of 13 directors including Mr. Rutledge, who will be offered the position of Chairman. The remaining 12 directors will include seven independent directors nominated by the independent directors serving on Charter's Board of Directors, two directors designated by Advance/Newhouse, and three directors designated by Liberty Broadband. Charter's current Chairman since 2009, Eric Zinterhofer, will continue to serve on New Charter's Board.
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The Charter-Time Warner Cable transaction is subject to approval by both Charter and Time Warner Cable shareholders, regulatory review, and other customary conditions. The Charter-Advance/Newhouse transaction is subject to several conditions, including the completion of the Time Warner Cable acquisition (subject to certain exceptions if Time Warner Cable enters into another sale transaction) and a separate vote on the Liberty transactions, and regulatory approval. The three companies expect to close the announced transactions by the end of 2015.