Charter Communications to acquire Time Warner Cable

— 6:00 AM on May 27, 2015

One month after Comcast abandoned its takeover bid, Time Warner Cable has found another buyer. According to the New York Times, Charter Communications has agreed to cough up $56.7 billion for the company. When combined with a separate deal to swallow Bright House Networks, the acquisition will reportedly give Charter 24 million customers—just shy of the 27 million serviced by market leader Comcast.

The merger would help Charter compete with its larger rival, but regulatory approval is still required. Reuters says Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler wants to "look and see how American consumers would benefit" from the deal.

Although the prospect of an uphill battle with regulators apparently prompted Comcast to bail on its acquisition attempt, the situation is very different here. Charter lacks Comcast's media divisions, making this a merger between service providers rather than the expansion of a vertically integrated conglomerate.

Charter first proposed a merger with Time Warner Cable in early 2014, so the deal marks the potentially successful conclusion of a prolonged courtship. It's unclear how long government gatekeepers will take to weigh in on the marriage.

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