Charter Communications

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Charter Communications completed its takeover of larger rival Time Warner Cable (and also regional operator Brighthouse Networks) in May 2016, to create the second largest US cable operator after Comcast. The combined Charter/TWC service relaunched as Charter Spectrum, serving around 26m residential and business customers across 41 US states. Thomas Rutledge is chairman & CEO, but the company's biggest shareholders are media tycoons John Malone, via his Liberty Broadband vehicle, and the Newhouse family, owners of Advance and Conde Nast. The deal more than quadrupled the size by customers of the original Charter business, and revenues are expected to rise from under $10bn in 2015 to over $40bn. The Charter cable business was created in Missouri in 1993, and was subsequently acquired by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. However, huge debts generated by expansion left the company struggling and it eventually filed for bankrupcy in 2009. It was rescued by private equity investors, and John Malone became its biggest shareholder in 2013. In 2014, Charter attempted to engineer a merger with Time Warner Cable, but its offer was topped by one from larger rival Comcast. That combination was blocked by regulators on competition grounds, allowing Charter to snap up the orphaned TWC on the rebound. Adbrands does not profile this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.

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Capsule checked 20th February 2017

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 11th May 2017: America's two leading cable companies have formed their own alliance to push back against the moves by Verizon and AT&T into entertainment programming. Comcast and Charter will share resources and technology as they launch their own branded wireless services, initially on an MVNO basis through bandwidth from Verizon. They have agreed not to make any material merger or acquisition within the telecoms sector without the other’s consent for at least a year. Analysts believe that the partnership might result in a shared bid for one of the two smaller wireless carriers, T-Mobile USA and Sprint.

Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Apr 2017: Ads of the Week: "Train". We love this spot for Charter Spectrum cable, now the US #2 following Charter's takeover of Time Warner Cable. The agency is Brooklyn-based creative boutique Something Different, launched last summer by two executives from Ogilvy. It's an old school style of absurdist character-based comedy but it works perfectly. Because monsters have problems too. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd Feb 2017: Charter Communications reported its first annual results since it swallowed Time Warner Cable and Bright House to become the second largest cable operator in the US. Despite the inevitable complications of getting to grips with its substantially increased footprint, combined customer numbers continued to rise, topping 26m by the end of the year. Proforma full year revenues were up 7% on a comparable basis to over $40bn while net income soared almost tenfold to over $1bn.

Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Feb 2017: AT&T and Verizon reported lacklustre results from their core telecoms businesses, adding fresh urgency to their push into media. Indeed, hot on the heels of their annual results came reports that Verizon has made an approach to acquire what is now the #2 cable company Charter Communications. If such a deal were to come off, the price tag could be easily in excess of $100bn. Key to Charter's attraction is its fixed broadband footprint which has already around 24m cable and broadband customers in the US, and is within reach of twice that many homes. Verizon's existing FiOS service has only 7m subscribers. The urgency of further expansion was highlighted by Verizon's annual results, with revenues and profits both down significantly.

Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Sep 2016: Charter Communications, now the #2 cable provider in the US following its takeover of Time Warner Cable, is to follow its biggest rival Comcast into the wireless telecoms sector. Like Comcast it will use a combination of its own network of wifi hotspots, combined with wireless bandwidth leased from Verizon. CEO Tom Rutledge told an investor conference that the company's cable network currently passes around 50m homes across the nation, but so far only around half subscribe to the company's services. He hopes to use the new wireless service to improve that percentage.

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