Democratic senators raise serious concerns about Charter Time Warner tie-up

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 25, 2016 12:55 PM

(Reuters) - Five Democratic U.S. senators including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission Thursday that they have "significant concerns" about Charter Communications <CHTR.O> planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable <TWC.N> and Bright House Networks.

The senators including Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Ron Wyden and Al Franken said the deal "would effectively create a nationwide broadband duopoly, leaving New Charter and Comcast largely in control of nearly two-thirds of the nation’s high-speed broadband homes" and urged the government to thoroughly address all potential harms to consumers.

They also raised concerns that Charter will take on significant debt that could harm its ability to honor commitments to build out its network, including in rural areas.

Charter said in May that it would buy Time Warner Cable in a $56 billion cash-and-stock deal that would make it the No. 2 U.S. Internet and cable company after Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O).

The deal has been approved by shareholders of both companies and most U.S. states, but is awaiting clearance from U.S. regulators.

(Reporting by David Shepardson)