U.S. FCC delays Charter-Time Warner Cable merger review by two weeks: Reuters

(Reuters) — The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said it is delaying its informal deadline by 15 days to review the proposed $56 billion merger of cable rivals Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O) and Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N).

This delay in the 180-day countdown will give the regulators sufficient time to review the new information filed by the companies, throughout December, regarding Charter’s residential pricing and packaging methodology and its plan to deploy a new low-cost broadband service, the commission said in a letter to companies.

The 15-day pause, which is now set to conclude on Jan. 20, will also allow the regulator to look at proposed transaction’s impact on the distribution of Time Warner Cable’s regional sports networks, the commission added in the letter, posted on its website, on Monday.

FCC’s so-called 180-day “shot clock”, which was started in September, is used as guidance, though it is often surpassed.

Charter said in May that it would buy Time Warner Cable in a cash-and-stock deal that would make it the No. 2 U.S. Internet and cable company after Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O).

The deal has been approved by shareholders of both companies and most U.S. states, but is awaiting clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The National Association of Broadcasters and Dish Network Corp (DISH.O) have separately petitioned the FCC to reject the proposed merger, which Dish said would be no better for public interest than Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O) proposed deal.

AT&T Inc (T.N) also wrote a letter to the FCC, in October, asking for a careful review on the impact of cable deals on emerging online video products. However, it said, it does not oppose the proposed Charter-Time Warner merger.

Charter said in late October that it expects the merger to close in the first quarter of 2016.

Charter Communications and Time Warner could not be reached immediately for comment outside regular business hours.