Charter-TWC merger reportedly passes FCC vote; Pai votes no

Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR) purchases of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks have secured the necessary three Commission votes to clear regulatory approval from the FCC, the major news services have reported. 

Both Reuters and Bloomberg said FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Michael O'Rielly have voted in favor of the mergers. Together with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who circulated a conditional approval order for the deals last week, the deals have the necessary votes to pass.

Speaking to unnamed sources, the news services said Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai has voted against the merger, unhappy with the agency's methodology of securing conditions in return for granting permission for companies to conduct deals.

Pai's reported objection to the merger comes after Charter President and CEO Tom Rutledge earlier this week called Pai to explain that the deals had multiple public interest benefits, including increased network buildout and an "industry leading" low-income broadband offer, and that approving the deals would have no negative impact on consumers, according to an FCC filing.

The deal cleared the Department of Justice last month. The only remaining hurdle is a vote on May 12 by the California Public Utilities Commission, which has already received a recommendation from an administrative law judge to approve the mergers. 

Charter executives last week told investors during the company's first-quarter earnings call that their integration plan is already in place and they're prepared to close on the deal with TWC "within a few days" of the California PUC vote.

The mergers will create the second largest broadband provider and third largest pay-TV company in America. 

For more:
- read the Bloomberg story
- read this Reuters story
- read this story from The Hill
- see this filing

Related articles:
Charter-TWC merger opposition group presses FCC for more conditions
Charter merger conditions not 'unduly onerous,' analyst says
Charter's TWC and Bright House deals get official approval order from FCC's Wheeler

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