Comcast to divest itself of 3.9 million subscribers

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PHILADELPHIA — Moving swiftly to regain regulatory momentum for its proposed $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc., Comcast Corp. on Monday announced a complicated set of steps to divest 3.9 million of its cable-TV subscribers.

The divestiture, valued at $19.5 billion, is 900,000 more TV subscribers than Comcast originally agreed to shed to obtain regulatory approvals when it announced the giant deal for taking over Time Warner Cable in February.

The plan will provide rival Charter Communications Inc. with 1.4 million former Time Warner Cable customers.

In a remarkable move, a total of 2.5 million Comcast subscribers will go to a newly created and publicly traded cable-TV company. Charter would own 33 percent of the new company, named, for the time being, SpinCo.

The maneuvers will lower Comcast’s share of cable-TV subscribers nationally to below 30 percent, a key benchmark, Comcast believes. The Philadelphia company will have about 30 million cable subscribers if and when the deals close. Charter will be the nation’s second-largest cable company.

Consumer groups oppose the Comcast acquisition of Time Warner, saying the size of the new company would be bad for consumers and online video providers that compete with cable companies.

Both Comcast and Time Warner stock prices increased on Monday.

Comcast closed at $51.70, up 1.4 percent. Time Warner closed at $140.95, an increase of 1.1 percent.