It's official: Uncle Sam says Charter can buy Time Warner Cable (update)

The FCC chairman and Justice Department approved the $78 billion deal today.

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Flickr / Jim Larrison
Flickr / Jim Larrison

Charter Communications purchased Time Warner Cable in a deal estimated at $78 billion, and today the US Department of Justice and FCC chairman Tom Wheeler gave the acquisition the green light. The companies agreed to the deal in May 2015, when it was estimated at $55 billion. The approval comes with a few caveats: The DoJ says Charter is not allowed to impede access to streaming content, for one. Wheeler says Charter will not be allowed to impose data caps or charge usage-based prices, nor will it be able to charge interconnection fees.

"All three seven-year conditions will help consumers by benefitting [online video provider] competition," Wheeler says. "The cumulative impact of these conditions will be to provide additional protection for new forms of video programming services offered over the Internet."

Charter has been hunting Time Warner Cable since early 2014. Today's thumbs up also covers Charter's purchase of Bright House Networks, a deal valued at $10.4 billion. The remaining FCC commissioners still have to sign off on the deal, something that could happen as early as this week.

Update: A previous version of this story misstated the FCC's approval of the Charter-Time Warner Cable deal. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler supports the acquisition, but the FCC itself has yet to approve it. We've updated the article for clarity.

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