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Rutledge: Scale Benefits Business Services, Too

Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge told an industry audience late Wednesday that cable consolidation would not only help keep programming costs down, it would open up the consolidator to a world of opportunity in the business services market as well.

Rutledge, speaking at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Media, Entertainment & Communications conference in Los Angeles, said additional scale would allow an operator to provide business services on a nationwide basis.

He added that most acquisitions offer costs synergies but they are often one-time benefits.

"Is there some scale level where it could be transformative and actually change the leverage in the business?" Rutledge asked. "I think there is. There are a variety of things that could be opened up if that were to occur – one is programming leverage and another is the whole telephone business and the ability to serve national clients, national phone customers that are in multiple locations."

He added that in Charter's footprint alone, businesses spend about $9.5 billion annually on telecom services. He added that Charter is expected to capture about $800 million of that business this year.

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