Charter Communications said late Tuesday it plans to sell $3 billion of senior notes to raise cash for fees and expenses and general corporate purposes – the latest major media company to tap the debt market for a cash cushion in the midst of the corovirus pandemic.
Disney raised $6 billion selling debt securities last month (and separately set a new $5 billion credit agreement yesterday). Fox sold $1.2 billion worth of senior notes, Comcast $6 billion and ViacomCBS $2.5 billion.
Charter said it will offer two tranches of senior notes, for $1.6 billion and $1.4 billion. The nation’s second largest cable provider – with 29 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand – said warned in an SEC filing earlier in the day that it “cannot predict the ultimate impact of COVID-19 on our business, including from an economic impact to our residential and business customers’ ability to pay for our product and services … government emergency declarations, the ability of our suppliers and vendors to provide products and services to us, the pace of new housing construction, changes in business spend in our local and national ad sales business.”
It noted however that it’s continued to deliver services uninterrupted by the pandemic despite a significant increase in network activity from the private and public response to COVID-19.
It said a 60-day free Internet offer for new customers with students or educators in the household generated 119,000 new Internet accounts in March. New connects for residential Internet services, excluding the free offer, were also up in March year-over-year.