COMCAST announced yesterday a series of transactions designed to lower its debt and help clear the way for its acquisition of Time Warner Cable, including the sale of cable systems with 1.4 million subscribers to Charter and the spin-off of an additional 2.5 million subscribers into a new company.
The approximately 2.5 million subscribers will be part of a new publicly traded cable provider that Philadelphia-based Comcast is creating and spinning off.
Charter Communications Inc. will form a new holding company that will own about a third of the Comcast spin-off, while shareholders of Comcast and the former Time Warner Cable will own the remaining 67 percent of the new company.
In February, Comcast Corp.'s $45.2 billion bid for Time Warner Cable Inc. topped Charter's offer.
Comcast said that the transactions will give it less than 30 percent of homes that subscribe to cable or satellite TV in the U.S. after its combination with Time Warner Cable closes.
Comcast said in an investor presentation that it puts the deals' initial value to Comcast shareholders at $19.5 billion.
Charter said the acquisition of the Time Warner Cable subscribers will boost its residential and commercial video customer base to about 5.7 million from 4.4 million. Charter and Comcast will also exchange about 1.6 million customers.
The spin-off company Comcast is creating will own systems adjacent to Charter systems in Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Alabama, Eastern Tennessee, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
Comcast said that the new cable provider it is creating and spinning off will have a nine-member board. That will include six independent directors and three appointed by Charter. Comcast itself will have no ownership stake in the spun-off company and will have no role in managing it. Charter will manage the new company.
Comcast plans to use proceeds from the transactions to lower its debt. It still anticipates its combination with Time Warner Cable bringing about $1.5 billion in operating savings. The combination is targeted to close by year-end.