Comcast has agreed to shed nearly four million subscribers to ensure that it does not become too large if it goes ahead with a merger with Time Warner Cable.
The US company has agreed to a net reduction of approximately 3.9 million video customers – meaning that, if the merger goes ahead, Comcast will retain less than 30 percent of total national MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor) subscribers, while maintaining what it describes as 'the compelling strategic and financial rationale' of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable.
If the merger goes ahead, Charter Communications will acquire approximately 1.4 million existing Time Warner Cable subscribers, increasing Charter’s current residential and commercial video customer base from 4.4 million to approximately 5.7 million, and making Charter the second largest cable operator in the United States.
The agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and Time Warner Cable’s board has also consented to the arrangement.
'Today’s agreement follows through on our willingness to divest subscribers, while also marking an important step in our merger with Time Warner Cable,' said Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer at Comcast.
'These transactions enable us to deliver meaningful value to our shareholders. The realignment of key cable markets achieved in these transactions will enable Comcast to fill in our footprint and deliver operational efficiencies and technology improvements. We look forward to working with the management teams at Time Warner Cable, Charter and the new entity to close these transactions and ensure a smooth transition for the customers and employees of all companies.'