NYC franchise committee signs off on Charter-TWC transfer

Charter Communications' (NASDAQ: CHTR) bid to acquire Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) took another regulatory step when New York City officials signed off on the city's cable franchise transfer.

The Big Apple's Franchise and Concession Review Committee signed off on the transfer of its contracts from TWC to Charter in a public meeting Wednesday. 

"We are pleased that this merger between Charter and Time Warner Cable is moving forward in a way that ensures they will meet all franchise obligations, and as well as the conditions set forth by the PSC –- and advocated for by the city –- with respect to broadband speed, cost, and availability and job protections," Maya Wiley, counsel to the mayor, said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg.

The NYC franchise decision comes after New York state regulators signed off on the deal in January. In its bid to also acquire privately held Bright House Networks, Charter still has its two biggest regulatory hurdles ahead of it, with FCC and Justice Department decisions pending. Also up the air is California's Public Utilities Commission, which won't render a decision until May.

"We look forward to successfully completing this transaction and bringing its many benefits to customers in New York City," said Charter spokesman Justin Venech in a statement.

As part of its approval, Charter agreed to several diversity initiatives and to improve public-access programming. 

Meanwhile, officials from Europe's Altice NV are also attempting to influence New York state regulators as they seek approval of their $17.7 billion purchase of Cablevision (NYSE: CVC).

Altice reps have committed to improving broadband infrastructure and speeds in Cablevision's footprint, committing to a 300 Mbps product, as well as a $15-a-month Internet service for low-income consumers. 

Altice, however, stopped short of committing to keeping Cablevision's workforce intact. It also didn't say it would pass on any of its promised $1 billion in operational savings to Cablevision customers. 

For more:
- read this Bloomberg story
- read this NYC Franchise and Concession Review Committee document
- read this other Bloomberg story

Related articles:
Charter fends off HBO's accusations that TWC merger will be bad for OTT
FCC to restrict Charter-TWC from using contract terms to stifle online video, WSJ says
Bernie Sanders worried Charter-TWC deal will create 'broadband duopoly'

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