Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) continues to work to obtain regulatory approval for its massive purchases of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, arguing that the resulting company -- dubbed New Charter -- would only service roughly 21 percent of all American broadband customers. Charter noted that figure is "less than Comcast and only slightly more than AT&T."
Charter's latest statement on the company's proposed transaction essentially stands as a rebuttal to Charlie Ergen and Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), which have mounted a major offensive against the deal. In a meeting with FCC officials earlier this week, Ergen argued that Charter's proposed transaction "will create a suffocating duopoly: this transaction will result in two broadband providers controlling about 90 percent of the nation's high-speed broadband homes between them."
Specifically, in a filing about the meeting, Dish noted that the so-called New Charter "would serve almost 30 percent of the homes in the United States that have broadband speeds of at least 25 Mbps."
But Charter, in a recent filing with the SEC, blasted that claim: "New Charter would serve only 23% of subscribers receiving 25 Mbps and above," the company said in its filing, which it noted is "smaller than the percentage Comcast serves today."
Charter also countered Dish's assertions that the combined Charter-TWC-Bright House would create a company with an "enlarged ability to harm competing OVDs would give it a heightened incentive to do so, in order to help its own video business." In response, Charter pointed out that Netflix -- the world's largest SVOD provider -- has voiced support for Charter's proposed transactions.
"Broadband subscribership is Charter's leading driver of growth; consumers appreciate our superior broadband when multiple family members are using data intensive applications like online video," Charter said.
Analysts expect wrangling with state public utilities commissions and various other regulatory bodies will extend the closure of the three-way merger between Charter, Bright House and TWC into as late as the middle of next year. However, the consensus is that the deals lack the opposition endured by the previously unsuccessful Comcast-TWC merger attempt, and they'll likely be consummated.
Charter's proposed purchase of TWC and Bright House follows on the heels of Comcast's now-failed effort to purchase TWC. It's also one of several major transactions still pending on the U.S. cable landscape: Europe's Altice is working to close its own purchases of Suddenlink and Cablevision.
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