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FCC delays Charter-Time Warner Cable merger review by two weeks

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The FCC has paused its "shot clock" on its six-month review of Charter Communication's (NASDAQ: CHTR) proposed purchases of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks.

The commission said the 15-day pause is necessary to evaluate documents filed in December by the merging companies, relating primarily to Charter's residential pricing and packaging strategies, as well as TWC's regional sports network business. 

The review process, which started in September, will have 65 days once it resumes on Jan. 20. 

"Pausing the clock will ensure that commenters have sufficient time to review and comment on this new information, and will provide Commission staff with the necessary time to review both the applicants' materials and any responses," FCC Media Bureau Chief William Lake said in an agency memo.

"We have recently submitted supplemental information to underscore the benefits of these transactions and it is expected that the FCC would want to give the public time to comment," Charter said in a statement. "We are working well with the FCC on its review of our deal and continue to look forward to a timely approval."

According to the FCC, Charter filed a white paper titled IP Interconnection Policy and Requirements on Dec. 3, while providing additional insight on its cyber security efforts and policies on Dec. 15. Among numerous other new filings, TWC provided new information regarding its own residential and commercial buildout methodologies.

Charter is seeking to buy TWC for $55.1 billion and Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion. 

With the shot clock stoppage, the FCC is set to close its process in March. Meanwhile, the deals' most vocal opponent, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH), continues to hammer away.

In the satellite operator's most recent ex parte filing to the FCC, Dish said Charter's claim that the merger will result in a complete digital transition for TWC, but "TWC already had plans to complete its digital and TWC Maxx transition," Dish said. 

For more:
- read this FCC announcement
- read this Reuters story
- read this Bloomberg story

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