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Charter Communications 

Market Cap $13.58 B As of May 2014

At a Glance
  • Industry: Broadcasting & Cable
  • Founded: 1993
  • Country: United States
  • CEO: Thomas Rutledge
  • Website: www.charter.com
  • Employees: 21,600
  • Sales: $8.16 B
  • Headquarters: Stamford, Connecticut
Forbes Lists
#1101 Global 2000
  • #1144 in Sales
  • #1182 in Assets
  • #825 in Market value
Profile

Charter Communications, Inc. provides entertainment, information, and communications solutions to residential and commercial customers. The company offers cable video programming services, such as basic and digital video, premium channels, OnDemand, pay-per-view, high definition television, digital video recorder, and online video services; Internet services; Charter.net, which provides multiple e-mail addresses, as well as various entertainment, games, news, wireless backhaul, and sports content; and telephone services. It also provides broadband communications solutions, such as Internet access, data networking, fiber connectivity to cellular towers and office buildings, video entertainment services, and business telephone services under the Charter Business brand name to business and carrier organizations. Charter Communications was founded on July 22, 1999 and is headquartered in Stamford, CT.

“Charter Communications History

The beginning

Charter Communications was founded in 1993 by Barry Babcock, Jerald Kent, and Howard Wood, who had been former executives atCencom Cable Television in St. Louis, Missouri. It was also incorporated in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1993.

In 1995, Charter paid about $300 million for a controlling interest in Crown Media and acquired Cable South.

In 1997, Charter and EarthLink joined forces to deliver high-speed Internet access through cable modems to Charter’s customers in California.

In 1998, Paul Allen bought a controlling interest. The company paid $2.8 billion to acquire Dallas-based cable company Marcus Cable. Charter Communications had 1 million customers in 1998.

Listing on the NASDAQ for the first time

In November 1999, the company went public, trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange. At the time, it had 3.9 million customers.

Charter completed more than ten major acquisitions in 1999:

  • Added 68,000 subscribers in Southern California with the purchase of four cable systems from American Cable Entertainment of Stamford, Connecticut.
  • Acquired 400,000 InterMedia Partners subscribers, primarily in the Southeast. As part of the deal Charter would turn over about 140,000 of its subscribers to TCI in cable system swap.
  • Merged with Marcus Cable
  • Acquired cable systems serving 460,000 subscribers from Rifkin Acquisition Partners and InterLink Communications.
  • Acquired 173,000 subscribers, mostly in central Massachusetts, from New Jersey–based Greater Media Inc.
  • Acquired Renaissance Media Group, a New York partnership serving 130,000 customers near New Orleans, western Mississippi, and Jackson, Tennessee.
  • Acquired New Jersey-based Helicon Cable Communications. The systems served about 171,000 customers in eight states in the Southeast and Northeast.
  • Acquired Avalon Cable TV, adding 260,000 subscribers primarily in Michigan and Massachusetts.
  • Acquired Vista Broadband Communications in Smyrna, Georgia, adding 30,000 more customers.
  • Acquired Falcon Cable TV of Los Angeles. Falcon was the eighth largest cable operator in the United States with about one million subscribers in 27 states in primarily non-urban areas.
  • Acquired Fanch Communications Inc. of Denver. Fanch had 547,000 subscribers in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Wisconsin.

Charter also began swapping customers with other systems to improve the geographic clustering of its systems. In December 1999 it signed a letter of intent with AT&T Corporation to swap 1.3 million cable subscribers in St. Louis as well as in Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri. In 2000, Charter Communications bought select AT&T cable markets, including Reno, Nevada, and the City of St. Louis.

In 2001, MSN and Charter signed an agreement to offer MSN content and services to Charter’s broadband customers. In the same year, Charter received awards, including the Outstanding Corporate Growth Award from the Association for Corporate Growth, the R.E. “Ted” Turner Innovator of the Year Award from the Southern Cable Telecommunications Association, and the Fast 50 Award for Growth from the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association.

Lawsuits

In 2002, the United States Department of Justice investigated the company, leading to the indictment of four former executives in 2005 for improper financial reporting related primarily to the inflation of cable subscriber numbers to improve financial figures.

In 2004, Charter settled a class action lawsuit concerning the questionable financial reporting associated with the US Department of Justice’s 2002 investigation and subsequent indictment of four former executives. Current and former shareholders (and their attorneys) were awarded $144 million as well as an agreement from Charter to maintain and implement proper corporate governance measures.

In June 2010, Charter settled a class action lawsuit for $18 million concerning wage and overtime claims for current and former field technicians in California, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Nebraska.

in December 2013, a complaint was filed by Steelhead Licensing LLC for Patent Infringement of US Patent 8082318. US Patent is described as “Controlling service requests transmitted from a client to a server”.

Further expansion

In 2008, it acquired the cable television franchise and service for the Cerritos and Ventura, California area from Wave Broadband.

Also in 2008, Charter stock failed to meet NASDAQ standards and was given warning to comply by October 13 or request an extension.

In February 2013, Charter confirmed its purchase of the former Optimum West cable systems owned by Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC). The $1.6 billion deal brought Charter cable systems to 375,000 customers in Colorado’s mountains and Western Slope, as well as in Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

Filing for bankruptcy protection

In February 2009, Charter Communications announced that it planned to file for Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code on or before April 1, 2009. The action would allow Charter to pay its debt obligations, and cancel its obligations to shareholders. Private equity firm Apollo Management expected to own most of Charter’s shares after the bankruptcy. Charter filed for a prearranged bankruptcy on March 28, 2009. The company expected the financial restructuring to reduce its debt by $8 billion, as well as adding $3 billion of new investment, and refinancing other debt.

Emerging from bankruptcy protection

On November 30, 2009, its bankruptcy plan was approved, which extinguished its stock and cut approximately $8 billion in debt. That day, Charter emerged from bankruptcy despite many of its creditors’ objections over its bankruptcy plan.

In 2010, Paul Allen stepped down as chairman and from board of directors’ seat, but remains the largest single shareholder. Also in that year, Charter signed multi-year deal withTivo to deliver content via its platform.

Listing on the NASDAQ for the second time

On September 14, 2010, Charter Class A common stock was re-listed on NASDAQ under the symbol “CHTR”.

Thomas M. Rutledge was appointed as a director and President and CEO effective February 13, 2012.

The same year, Charter prices $1.25 billion senior debt, offering to pay down short- and long-term debt

On February 8, 2013, Charter announced an agreement to acquire former Bresnan Communications systems in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, from Cablevision in a transaction worth US$1.63 billion.

Failed acquisition of Time Warner Cable

On January 13, 2014, Charter Communications said it was interested in buying its larger rival Time Warner Cable. After three previous attempts to buy and merge with the company, Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge wrote in an open letter to Time Warner Cable’s CEO Robert Marcus stating, “I believe we have a significant opportunity to put our companies together in a way that will create maximum, long-term value for shareholders and employees of both companies”. The $132.50 per share offer, just above TWC’s closing price at $132.40 on January 13, was rejected.

On February 13, 2014, Time Warner Cable accepted an offer of $158.82 per share from Comcast, avoiding a hostile takeover situation from Charter.

On April 28, 2014, Comcast and Charter announced that, assuming Comcast’s merger with Time Warner is successful, Charter will acquire 1.4 million Comcast/Time Warner Cable customers, bringing Charter’s subscriber total to 5.7 million and making Charter, by its own count, the second largest cable operator in the country.[29] In addition to the 1.4 million divested subscribers, Comcast also agreed to swap 1.6 million subscribers with Charter in an even, tax-efficient exchange whose intent is to improve the geographic spread of both companies. In a third part of the agreement, Comcast will spin off 2.5 million subscribers into a new publicly traded company in which Charter will hold a 33% stake — with an option to eventually own the whole company — and former Time Warner Cable shareholders will hold a 67% stake.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org

**Video published on YouTube by “Careers at Charter