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U.S. Antitrust Approves Charter, Time Warner, Bright House Cable Mergers

The U.S. Justice Department approved the merger of cable television providers Charter Cable, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks on Monday.

The merger will create the country’s second-largest cable company, with only Comcast being larger.

The merger is still awaiting approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Certain conditions will be applied to the deal.

The merger will be conditioned to protect competition over streaming rivals like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated an order seeking the merger’s approval with conditions that “directly benefit consumers by bringing and protecting competition in the video marketplace and increasing broadband deployment.”

Charter will also be forbidden from placing data caps on Internet services or charging based on usage.

Charter, owned by Liberty Global, approached a deal to merge with Time Warner Cable in 2015.  This came after a potential merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable was rejected by antitrust members. The Charter deal for Time Warner Cable was valued at $56.7 billion for Time Warner Cable, excluding debt.

Before the FCC can approve the merger, approval is still needed from the state of California where both Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks operate in the Los Angeles and Bakersfield areas. Approval from the California Public Utilities Commission would come as early as May 12.

In a separate deal, Charter also agreed to acquire Bright House Networks, the U.S.’ sixth-largest cable operator that is privately owned by Conde Nast – Advance Newhouse Publishing. Bright House had an agreement with Time Warner Cable to provide content and services in Bright House Network’s core markets, such as Orlando and Tampa in Florida, valued at $10.4 billion.

Charter had their eyes on Time Warner Cable previously, making an unsolicited bid for the company in early 2013.

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