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Comcast acquires Time Warner Cable for $45.2 bln

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MUMBAI: Comcast Corporation, the largest video, high-speed internet and phone services provider in the US, will acquire its competitor Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion in all-stock deal.

Through the merger, Comcast will acquire Time Warner Cable’s approximately 11 million managed subscribers. In order to reduce competitive concerns, Comcast said it is prepared to divest systems serving approximately 3 million managed subscribers.

As such, Comcast will, through the acquisition and management of Time Warner Cable systems, net approximately 8 million managed subscribers in this transaction. This will bring Comcast’s managed subscriber total to approximately 30 million.

Following the transaction, Comcast’s share of managed subscribers will remain below 30 percent of the total number of multi-channel video programming distributor (MVPD) subscribers in the US.

Comcast Corporation  and Time Warner Cable today announced that their boards of directors have approved a definitive agreement for Time Warner Cable to merge with Comcast.

Comcast will acquire 100 per cent of Time Warner Cable’s 284.9 million shares outstanding for shares of Comcast amounting to approximately $45.2 billion in equity value.

Each Time Warner Cable share will be exchanged for 2.875 shares of CMCSA, equal to Time Warner Cable shareholders owning approximately 23 percent of Comcast’s common stock, with a value to Time Warner Cable shareholders of approximately $158.82 per share based on the last closing price of Comcast shares.

The transaction will generate approximately $1.5 billion in operating efficiencies and will be accretive to Comcast’s free cash flow per share while preserving balance sheet strength. The merger will also be tax free to Time Warner Cable shareholders.

Comcast said this transaction will create a leading technology and innovation company, differentiated by its ability to deliver ground-breaking products on a superior network while leveraging a national platform to create operating efficiencies and economies of scale.

"The combination of Time Warner Cable and Comcast creates an exciting opportunity for our company, for our customers, and for our shareholders," said Comcast’s Chairman and CEO Brian L Roberts. "Also, it is our intention to expand our buyback program by an additional $10 billion at the close of the transaction.

The new cable company will generate multiple pro-consumer and pro-competitive benefits, including an accelerated deployment of existing and new innovative products and services for millions of customers.

Comcast’s subscribers today have access to the most comprehensive video experience, including the cloud-based X1 Entertainment Operating System, plus 50,000 video on demand choices on television, 300,000 plus streaming choices on XfinityTV.com, Xfinity TV mobile apps that offer 35 live streaming channels plus the ability to download to watch offline later, and the newly launched X1 cloud DVR.

Comcast is also a technology leader in broadband and has increased Internet speeds 12 times in the past 12 years across its entire footprint. Time Warner Cable owns cable systems located in key geographic areas, including New York City, Southern California, Texas, the Carolinas, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Time Warner Cable will combine its unique products and services with Comcast’s, including StartOver, which allows customers to restart a live program in progress to the beginning, and LookBack, which allows customers to watch programs up to three days after they air live, all without a DVR.

Time Warner Cable also has been a leader in the deployment of community Wi-Fi, and will combine its more than 30,000 hotspots, primarily in Los Angeles and New York City, and its in-home management system, IntelligentHome, with Comcast’s offerings.

The companies said the merger agreement between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is subject to shareholder approval at both companies and regulatory review and other customary conditions and is expected to close by the end of 2014.

J.P. Morgan, Paul J. Taubman, and Barclays Plc acted as financial advisors to Comcast and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP are its legal advisors. Morgan Stanley, Allen & Company, Citigroup and Centerview Partners are financial advisors to Time Warner Cable and its Board of Directors, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP are legal advisors.

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