NEW YORK, May 18 (UPI) — Time Warner Cable has been sold for $55.1 billion.
New owner Charter Communications Inc. announced it had completed its acquisition Wednesday, two years after it launched a hostile takeover bid for the New York-based cable provider.
Charter will phase out the Time Warner Cable name, said company spokesman Alex Dudley. Also included in the rebranding is Bright House Networks, which Charter bought last year for $10.4 billion.
“While Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks customers will not see any immediate change, the company will be called Charter and the products and services will be marketed under the ‘Spectrum’ brand,” Dudley said.
Time Warner Cable has been the subject of many subscriber complaints over the years. In 2015, it topped a poll for the worst customer-service score in any industry.
But despite this, the company added 32,000 cable TV customers and 1 million high-speed Internet users last year. Its broadband product also improved after getting the worst ranking of any service provider in 2014.
“It’s not surprising Charter wants to rebrand Time Warner Cable,” said David VanAmburg, managing director of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which tracks customer satisfaction for 43 industries.
“Charter has scored better than Time Warner Cable in recent years, so it could bode well for Time Warner Cable customers. But the data suggests leaps-and-bounds improvement could be difficult.”
Charter’s pay-TV score of 63 ranked higher than Time Warner Cable’s 51 last year. Yet its 2015 broadband service score of 57 trailed Time Warner Cable’s 58.
There are plans to invest an “enormous amount of money” to improve customer service, Charter Chief Executive Officer Tom Rutledge told Bloomberg TV. Those plans include maintaining U.S. call centers and offering customers online self-service options, he said.
Following the Time Warner Cable and Bright House acquisitions, Charter is now the country’s second-largest cable operator, behind Comcast. The company will gain around 18.5 million new customers in New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Florida, Alabama and Indiana.