published Monday, April 28th, 2014

Comcast, Charter deal impacts Chattanooga area

  • photo
    A silhouetted coaxial cable is photographed with the Comcast Corp. logo in the background in Philadelphia in this file photo illustration.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Some East Tennessee customers of Comcast, including in the Chattanooga area, will be impacted by a far-reaching deal between the cable TV giant and competitor Charter.

Comcast systems in Chattanooga and Tri-Cities will be transitioned into a new, publicly traded company that is being created, Comcast said today.

In a three-part deal with Comcast, Charter will acquire subscribers that Comcast is divesting, pick up a stake in the new public company that Comcast is spinning off and swap subscribers with Comcast.

The new company, called SpinCo, will own systems that are adjacent and/or contiguous to Charter systems. That new company will be majority owned by Comcast shareholders with Charter owning a minority stake.

Comcast currently operates in Chattanooga, while Charter has subscribers in North Georgia.

Charter would become the No. 2 largest cable operator in the country, behind Comcast, if the deal is finalized.

“The transactions announced today will provide Charter with greater scale, growth opportunities and improved geographical rationalization of our cable systems, which, in turn, will drive value for shareholders and more effective customer service,” Charter’s chief executive, Thomas M. Rutledge, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Comcast offered $45 billion for Time Warner Cable. Charter challenged the deal, urging shareholders to reject it and suggesting it would have a hard time getting past antitrust regulators.

See more in Tuesday’s Times Free Press.

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