Charter Communications has reached a deal to purchase Time Warner Cable, the company announced on Tuesday. The merger, which is valued at $78.7 billion, will make the new firm America’s second largest cable company behind Comcast.
This isn’t the first time Charter has tried to scoop up TWC, though the announcement is arriving shortly after a similar deal involving Comcast was shot down by the FCC. The government agency’s chairman Tom Wheeler apparently reached out to Charter and TWC recently to suggest that a merger between the to firms wouldn’t automatically be blocked. However, in a public statement on Tuesday, Wheeler notes that the deal still needs to be evaluated and approved.
“The FCC reviews every merger on its merits and determines whether it would be in the public interest,” Wheeler said. “In applying the public interest test, an absence of harm is not sufficient. The Commission will look to see how American consumers would benefit if the deal were to be approved.” The deal also needs a thumbs-up from shareholders of both firms.
If everything goes as planned, the merged companies will serve roughly 23.9 million customers in 41 states. Charter also claims the deal will allow it to deploy more public Wi-Fi, build out its optical network and offer faster speeds, higher definition cable and cheaper phone service. The deal is expected to close before the end of this year.