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Charter is “comfortable” with merger review process

The Federal Communications Commission hasn’t formally started its review of Charter Communications’ acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, but Charter, which is poised to become the third largest multichannel video provider and the second largest broadband provider,  isn’t worried about the time line or the potential conditions.

Charter announced deals to buy the two cable companies in late May for a total of $67 billion. The company recently completed all the obligatory filings with the government, complete with sweeteners to ease regulatory approval.

“In terms of the AT&T deal [conditions], it was fairly consistent with what we thought might be in it. We’re comfortable having seen it, with our own process before the FCC and look forward to engaging with the FCC in concluding our transaction,” Charter president and CEO Thomas Rutledge said during the company’s quarterly earnings call Tuesday.

Rutledge spent his opening remarks during the call ticking off the public interest promises the company has already itemized with regulators including continuing settle-free interconnection agreements, and offering a low-income broadband program.

Rutledge and other Charter executives have already started meeting with regulators to press the public interest case for New Charter, meeting recently with FCC merger review officials and commissioner Mignon Clyburn and staff.

Both Rutledge and Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus said they expected to close the deal by the end of the year.

Charter’s 10-Q indicated that the company has spent $19 million in the second quarter on merger and acquisition costs, which it defines as “costs incurred in connection with merger and acquisition transactions, such as advisory, legal and accounting fees, among others.”  The year-to-date costs were $32 million.