Charter-TWC merger set to close after California PUC approval

The California Public Utilities Commission voted in favor of Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR) takeover of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) today, clearing the final regulatory hurdle of a three-way merger deal also involving Bright House Networks.

"We look forward to closing these transactions next week," Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. "We are pleased to have now obtained all approvals."

The imminent closure of the mega deal will create the second largest cable company in America, one that the FCC said is "harmful to the public interest," minus the series of seven-year conditions the agency placed on the combined operation. 

The PUC vote in Sacramento came after an California administrative law judge recommended approval of the TWC deal, with conditions. Consumer groups, including the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, said the PUC conditions — which also regulate such things as usage caps — only extend three years and do not go far enough. 

Any one of the PUC's five commissioners could have asked for the vote to be delayed two weeks. But in the morning vote, that did not occur. 

In any event, Charter said during its first-quarter earnings call last month that its integration plan is already in place for its new assets and closure of the deal will happen "within a couple of days" of the PUC vote. 

For more:
- read this Bloomberg story

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