New York — Charter Communications is buying Time Warner Cable for $55.33 billion, creating one of the largest TV and Internet providers in the U.S.

The deal comes a month after Comcast, the country’s largest cable provider and owner of NBCUniversal, walked away from a $45.2 billion bid for Time Warner Cable after intense pressure from regulators. Time Warner Cable had chosen the Comcast deal and rejected a $38 billion hostile offer from Charter in early 2014.

The companies say consolidation will allow for better customer service and more options.

For example, Charter’s slowest Internet speed is faster and less expensive than what Time Warner offers. Now it will be available to all customers.

“What this means for consumers is better products at better prices,” Thomas M. Rutledge, president and CEO of Charter Communications, said during a call with investors Tuesday morning.

There has been a wave in consolidation in the cable industry as providers are lose TV subscribers, costs for TV, sports and movies rise and pressure from online video services such as Netflix and Hulu increases.

John Malone’s Liberty Broadcast Corp., which owns more than a quarter of Charter’s stock, is backing the acquisition, which gives the cable pioneer a jewel he has pursued for years and puts Charter in the same league as Comcast.

Time Warner Cable is the country’s No. 2 cable company and serves large markets in Los Angeles and New York.

Charter on Tuesday also said it would buy Bright House Networks, a smaller cable provider, for $10.4 billion.

“As we look at integrating our three companies, our goal is to blend our cultures and organizations with minimal disruptions,” said Rutledge.

Charter, combined with Time Warner Cable and Bright House, will have nearly 24 million customers, compared with Comcast’s 27.2 million. AT&T’s pending deal with DirecTV would give it 26.4 million TV customers and 16.1 million Internet customers.

In Michigan, Time Warner provides service in nine cities: Belleville, Lambertville, Ypsilanti, Erie, Menominee, Hartland, Saline, Holly and Temperance.

Charter Communications operates in locations across the state, including Ann Arbor, South Lyon, Oxford, Plymouth, Shelby Township, Belleville and Clarkston. Bright House serves customers in Farmington, Farmington Hills, Livonia, Novi and Redford.

For customers in Michigan and other states, change will take time. The companies plan to close on the deal by the end of the year. After that, the company will be branded to consumers as Charter Spectrum.

Even then, the company will be upgrading services.

“We’re going to invest in the network and bring it to all-digital,” said Justin Venech, vice president of communications for Charter. “It will take place over time.”

Liberty Broadband is expected to own about 20 percent of the new Charter.

Charter Communications Inc., based in Stamford, Connecticut, will provide $100 in cash and shares of a new public parent company equal to 0.5409 shares of Charter for each outstanding Time Warner Cable Inc. share. The transaction values each Time Warner Cable share at about $195.71.

The companies on Tuesday valued New York-based Time Warner Cable at a total of $78.7 billion, including debt.

Detroit News Staff Writer Lauren Abdel-Razzaq contributed.


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