Charter Communications has gotten the last stamp of approval it needs to acquire Time Warner Cable, creating the nation's second-largest cable provider. Bloomberg reported this afternoon that the California Public Utilities Commission accepted the merger proposal, under the condition that the two companies provide faster broadband internet to more customers. According to a statement by Charter CEO Tom Rutledge, the deal is expected to close next week.
The FCC gave its blessing to the Charter-Time Warner Cable merger earlier this month, with preconditions that included barring the resulting company from setting "unfair barriers" to streaming video services that might compete with its own offerings. Any rules that regulators ask this entity, called New Charter, to follow will affect a large swathe of TV and internet customers: when the merger (along with another, smaller Charter buyout) was announced last year, it covered 23.9 million Americans. The only company with more customers is Comcast, which tried and failed to acquire Time Warner Cable in 2014. Charter announced its own intentions to acquire the company for $55 billion last year.