Los Angeles – Consolidation will help make the industry as a whole more competitive and will give cable operators a leg up on new technologies, according to Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts and Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge at the Cable Show 2014 General Session Wednesday.
Comcast agreed on Feb. 13 to acquire Time Warner Cable, in a deal worth about $69 billion that will boost the combined company’s reach to just under 30% of the television households across the country. On Monday, Comcast agreed to divest about 4 million customers to Charter in a trio of deals worth about $20 billion. The deals, which include the outright sale of 1.4 million TWC subscribers to Charter, a swap between Comcast and Charter involving systems with 1.6 million customers and the spin-off of an additional 2.5 million customers into a separate publicly traded company managed by and 33% owned by Charter, will effectively double the Connecticut-based company’s owned and managed systems to about 8.2 million customers.
In a briefly tense moment at the session when moderator, CNBC on-air editor John Fortt, reminded Rutledge of his past criticism of the deal and asked why the Charter CEO believes it is a good one now. Rutledge quickly wiped an annoyed look off his face, telling the moderator that this deal is different.
“It’s a smaller deal from a Comcast perspective, from an organization of the industry perspective,” Rutledge said. “This is a much better outcome. It’s good for employees of the companies. Both [companies] are committed to serving communities, employees and customers in a dynamic, positive way. I spent 23 years at Time Warner Cable. I have enormous respect for the people that work there. All of the people in Time Warner Cable will end up in great companies. They will all end up in a better, more efficient industry that is committed to being successful.”
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