FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is planning to circulate a draft order soon approving Charter Communications’ $55 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable, The Wall Street Journal reported. The move could happen this week.
The report says the federal greenlight would come with a number of conditions, notably targeting efforts to buoy online video as a competitor to cable TV. Citing sources, WSJ said one stipulation would prohibit Charter from including clauses in its pay-TV contracts that restrict a content company’s ability to offer its programming online or to new entrants in the space.
Wheeler’s recommendation would go to the other four FCC commissioners for their review, and a majority vote is needed for approval. There could be modifications to the order, but signs point to approval of the mega-merger that was proposed in the wake of NBCUniversal parent Comcast’s failed bid for TWC last year.
The deal would unite the No. 2 and No. 3 cable and Internet providers in the U.S., but opponents of the deal worry that it would reduce competition.
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