Charter Communications


Charter Communications
Charter Communications, Inc.
Type Public
NASDAQCHTR
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 1993
Headquarters Town and Country, MO, USA
Key people Eric L. Zinterhofer (Chairman)
Michael J. Lovett (President and CEO)
Richard R. Dykhouse (General Counsel)
Don Detampel (EVP and President, Commercial Services)
Christopher Winfrey (EVP and CFO)
James M. Heneghan (President, Charter Media)
Steven E. Apodaca (President, Operations )
Products Cable television
HDTV
Digital telephone
Broadband
Revenue increase US$ 6.002 billion (2007)[1]
Operating income increase US$ 548 million (2007)[1]
Net income decrease US$ −1.616 billion (2007)[1]
Total assets decrease US$ 14.666 billion (2007)[1]
Total equity decrease US$ −7.892 billion (2007)[1]
Employees 16,500 (2007)[1]
Website charter.com

Charter Communications is an American company providing cable television, high-speed Internet, and telephone services to more than 4.7 million customers in 25 states. By revenues, it is the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States, behind Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox Communications.[2] It is headquartered in Town and Country, Missouri.[3][4][5][6]

Contents

Internet Package Speeds

Lite: 1mpbs/128kpbs Express: 12mpbs/1mpbs Plus: 18mpbs/2mpbs Max: 25mpbs/3mpbs Ultra60: 60mpbs/5mpbs [7]

History

Charter Communications incorporated in Delaware in 1993. Through a series of acquisitions as well as internally financed growth, the company served 1 million customers in 1998, 3.9 million in 1999, and 6.8 million in 2002.

Four former executives received criminal indictments in 2005 for accounting fraud related primarily to the inflation of cable subscriber numbers. The company has been under financial pressure; its stock peaked at $27.75 per share in November 1999, before falling to under $1 in 2002.[8] On September 14, 2010 Charter Class A common stock was relisted on NASDAQ under the symbol "CHTR",[9] and as of Dec 1, 2010 the 52 Wk High/ Low is $39.99/$29.10.[10]

In 2006, Charter accelerated sales of cable telephone services using Broadband Telephony technology.[citation needed]

On March 28, 2009, Charter Communications filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Charter emerged from bankruptcy, Nov. 30, 2009.[11]

Call Centers

On May 2, 2006, Charter announced it will shut down seven of its call centers in the United States. The call centers closing are in the following locations:

As centers close, an increasing number of calls are being outsourced. Current[when?] outsource centers are located in Cainta, Philippines; Panama City, Panama; Mexico City, Mexico; London, Ontario; Trenton, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Brasília, Brazil.

Orders completed online or through retail partners with Charter Communication are directed to a call center located in Tempe, Arizona, operated by Teletech (Direct Alliance). This call center has inbound/outbound sales agents, as well as online chat agents.

Charter-owned call centers are located in St. Louis, Missouri (telephone service support center); Greenville, South Carolina; Vancouver, Washington; Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; Walker, Michigan; Rochester, Minnesota; Worcester, Massachusetts and Louisville, Kentucky (the largest call center enterprise-wide) with Heathrow, Florida handling the bulk of video, high-speed data, and telephone billing and customer service contacts. Each of the remaining centers are becoming increasingly specialized for particular lines of service or customer issues. In contrast, in the fourth quarter of 2007, Louisville call-center employees, who had been handling callers with Internet issues, were told to prepare for cross-training in video support.[citation needed]

Acquisitions/Divestitures

November 1999: Charter went public after more than ten major acquisitions in one year:.[12]

  • Added 68,000 subscribers in Southern California with the purchase of four cable systems from American Cable Entertainment of Stamford, Connecticut.
  • Acquired 400,000 InterMedia Partners subscribers, primarily in the Southeast. As part of the deal Charter would turn over about 140,000 of its subscribers to TCI[disambiguation needed ] in cable system swap.
  • Merged with Marcus Cable.
  • Acquired cable systems serving 460,000 subscribers from Rifkin Acquisition Partners and InterLink Communications.
  • Acquired 173,000 subscribers, mostly in central Massachusetts, from New Jersey-based Greater Media Inc.
  • Acquired Renaissance Media Group, a New York partnership serving 130,000 customers near New Orleans, western Mississippi, and Jackson, Tennessee.
  • Acquired New Jersey-based Helicon Cable Communications. The systems served about 171,000 customers in eight states in the Southeast and Northeast.
  • Acquired Avalon Cable TV, adding 260,000 subscribers primarily in Michigan and Massachusetts.
  • Acquired Vista Broadband Communications in Smyrna, Georgia, adding 30,000 more customers.
  • Acquired Falcon Cable TV of Los Angeles. Falcon was the eighth largest cable operator in the United States with about one million subscribers in 27 states in primarily non-urban areas.
  • Acquired Fanch Communications Inc. of Denver. Fanch had 547,000 subscribers in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Wisconsin.
  • Acquired New York-based Bresnan Communications, adding 690,000 subscribers in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.

Charter also began swapping customers with other systems to improve the geographic clustering of its systems. In December 1999 it signed a letter of intent with AT&T to swap 1.3 million cable subscribers in St. Louis as well as in Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri.[12]

On March 22, 2006, Charter announced that it would sell cable systems serving approximately 43,000 customers in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah to Orange Broadband Holding Company (since renamed Baja Broadband).[13]

Charter also sold cable systems in West Virginia and Virginia to Cebridge Connections (now known as Suddenlink Communications) and cable systems in Kentucky and Illinois to New Wave Communications.[14]

On October 14, 2008, an article appeared in the Fairmont, Minnesota Sentinel (Fairmont Sentinel), reporting that Charter is selling parts of their system to Midcontinent Communications, including its Bemidji, Minnesota and International Falls, Minnesota offices. Starting February 1, 2009 Midcontinent Communications took over some Charter's cable system in Minnesota including Balaton, Bemidji, Canby, Ely, Fairmont, International Falls, Littlefork, Sherburn, and surrounding communities. Other areas in Minnesota would have sold to Comcast, but the deal fell through.[15]

On October 22, 2010, announced completion of the sale of cable systems serving approximately 65,000 customers in seven states to Cobridge Communications, LLC. The 36 head ends acquired by Cobridge are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio and Texas. As a result of this sale, Charter no longer operates in Arkansas and Ohio.[16]

Bankruptcy

On February 12, 2009, Charter Communications announced that it planned to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on or before April 1, 2009. The action would allow Charter to pay its debt obligations, and cancel its obligations to shareholders.[17] Private equity firm Apollo Management expected to own most of Charter's shares after the bankruptcy.[18] Charter filed for a prearranged bankruptcy on March 28, 2009. The company expects the financial restructuring to reduce its debt by $8 billion, as well as adding $3 billion of new investment, and refinancing other debt. On November 30, 2009, its bankruptcy plan was approved, which extinguished its stock and cut approximately $8 billion in debt.[19] That day, Charter emerged from bankruptcy despite many of its creditors' objections over its bankruptcy plan.[20]

Awards and recognition

In December 2007, Charter was recognized by CableWorld Magazine as "2007 Multi-System Operator of the Year." According to the magazine, the company was selected for this award based on "rapidly expanding its telephone footprint to take advantage of the triple-play offering; developing a consistent, data-driven marketing plan; and addressing its nearest-term debt maturities."[21] During the spring of 2008, Charter was honored with third place among companies with over 2,000 employees in the annual "Best Places to Work in St. Louis" competition, sponsored by the St. Louis Business Journal., based on the response of Charter employees in the area to an online survey created and managed by the Journal.[22]

Criticism

Better Business Bureau reports[23]:

"BBB has determined that Charter Communications Inc meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints."

Charter Communications currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.[23] Though Charter Communications has not always had the best reporting in the past.[24]

PCWorld also ranked Charter's cable Internet service as worst among 14 major Internet service providers.[25] In addition, Charter High-Speed is rated 19 out of 22 cable ISPs on dslreports.com,[26] and Consumer Reports indicated in their February 2008 issue that Charter's television/Internet/telephone bundle collectively is the worst of all major national carriers.[27][28]

It was reported by Tony Bradle on about.com that Charter Communications redirected error pages and Windows Live Search results to a Charter search page without notifying customers. Users may opt out of redirection by clicking a link from the Charter search page; however, the opt-out link installs a cookie on the customer's computer, so deleting cookies will require the user to opt out again.[29]

It has been reported that on Monday, January 21, 2008, during a routine sweep of inactive accounts, Charter accidentally deleted the email accounts of approximately 14,000 customers; even worse, the removed data are now irretrievable. An initial report stated that the company would not compensate users in any way, but the company since decided to give a $50 account credit to each user affected.[30][31] In May 2008, Charter announced that it planned to monitor websites visited by its high-speed Internet customers via a partnership with targeted advertising firm NebuAd.[32][33] After customers voiced their concerns, Charter changed its mind in June.[34]

Coverage

August 2008, Charter Communications announced an agreement to carry the Big Ten Network, applicable to all customers.[35]

In December 2008, WFAA-TV, the ABC affiliate in Dallas–Fort Worth, reported that beginning January 1, 2009, Charter would no longer carry its signal due to a breakdown in negotiations. Charter quickly replied that a resolution to the issue was not out of the question.[36]

In December 2008, WCNC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported that as of December 31, 2008 Charter would no longer carry its signal due to a breakdown in negotiations.[37] In December 2008, KMOV-TV Channel 4, the CBS affiliate in Saint Louis, Missouri, reported that it would no longer be available to Charter subscribers starting December 31.[38] Prior to that, only the standard definition signal for KMOV was available on Charter cable.

The cable operator would have lost access to all of the stations owned by Belo Corporation. However, an agreement was reached days before the shutdown date.[39]

In May 2009, Comcast was able to meet an agreement with NFL Network, in which the NFL Network agreed to lower their asking price per subscriber. The higher asking price has been a problem with being carried with other cable networks. Roger Goodell is looking at resolving differences with other cable providers, to include Charter Communications, to allow carriage of this channel.[40]

On August 2011, Charter Communications and NFL Network announced that the two had reached a new, long-term agreement to carry the NFL Network in time for the 2011 season.[41][42]

Charter company timeline

  • 1993: Company was started by three executives — Barry Babcock, Jerald Kent, and Howard Wood, former executives of Cencom Cable Television in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 1995: Paid about $300 million for a controlling interest in Crown Media and acquired Cable South.
  • 1997: Charter and EarthLink joined forces to deliver high-speed Internet access through cable modems to Charter's customers in California.
  • 1998: Paul Allen bought a controlling interest.
  • 1998: Paid $2.8 billion to acquire Dallas-based cable company Marcus Cable.
  • 1999: Company went public, trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
  • 2000: Bought select AT&T cable markets, including Reno, Nevada and the City of St. Louis.
  • 2001: MSN and Charter signed an agreement to offer MSN content and services to Charter's broadband customers.
  • 2001: Received awards, including the Outstanding Corporate Growth Award from the Association for Corporate Growth, the R.E. "Ted" Turner Innovator of the Year Award from the Southern Cable Telecommunications Association, and the Fast 50 Award for Growth from the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association.
  • 2002: The United States Department of Justice investigated the company, leading to the indictment of four former executives for improper financial reporting.
  • 2004: Settled a class action lawsuit concerning the questionable financial reporting.
  • 2008: Acquired the cable television franchise and service for the Cerritos and Ventura, California area from WAVE Broadband.
  • 2008: Charter stock failed to meet NASDAQ standards and was given warning to comply by October 13 or request an extension.[43]
  • 2009: Filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.
  • 2009: Completed financial restructuring and emerged from bankruptcy.[44]
  • 2010: Paul Allen stepped down as chairman and from board of directors' seat, but remains the largest single shareholder.
  • 2010: Charter signs multi-year deal with Tivo to deliver content via its platform[45]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "2007 Annual Report". http://library.corporate-ir.net/library/11/112/112298/items/284329/Final_Charter_Annual_Report_2007.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-14. , library.corporate-ir.net
  2. ^ NCTA Top 25 MSO's, ncta.com
  3. ^ Corporate Contact Us, charter.com. Charter Communications. Retrieved on August 18, 2009.
  4. ^ Zoning Map, town-and-country.org. City of Town and Country. Retrieved on August 18, 2009.
  5. ^ Town and Country city, factfinder.census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 18, 2009.
  6. ^ Town and County, Mo.-Based Charter Communications to Buy Back Employee Stock., accessmylibrary.com St. Louis Post-Dispatch. January 21, 2004. Retrieved on August 18, 2009.
  7. ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". internet. http://www.charter.com/internet. 
  8. ^ Charter Communications executives sentenced in accounting schemes - 04/23/05, detnews.com
  9. ^ http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Charter-Communications-Lists-prnews-4115798545.html?x=0
  10. ^ http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/CHTR/historical
  11. ^ "UPDATE 1-Charter Communications emerges from bankruptcy". Reuters. November 30, 2009. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN3044096520091130. 
  12. ^ a b http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Charter-Communications-Inc-Company-History.html
  13. ^ "Charter Communications Announces Agreement to Sell Systems Serving Approximately 43,700 Customers; Subsidiaries of Orange Broadband Holding Company, LLC to Purchase Charter Assets" (Press release). Charter Communications. 2006-03-22. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=112298&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=834461&highlight=. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  14. ^ Saint Louis - Business and Technology News
  15. ^ Midcontinent Communications, midcocomm.com
  16. ^ http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=112298&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1486159&highlight=
  17. ^ Bloomberg.com
  18. ^ Reuters, 19 March 2009, Apollo plans to own most of Charter after bankruptcy: sources
  19. ^ "Charter Communications Completes Financial Restructuring and Emerges From Chapter 11" (Press release). Charter Communications. 2009-11-30. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=112298&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1359904&highlight=. Retrieved 2009-12-01. , corporate-ir.net
  20. ^ Bode, Karl (2009-11-30). "Charter Exits Chapter 11". BroadbandReports.com. http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Charter-Exits-Chapter-11-105703. Retrieved 2009-12-01. , dslreports.com
  21. ^ 2007 MSO of the Year: Charter—Back From the Brink: Cable Fax Magazine, cable360.net
  22. ^ 19 St. Louis companies named "Best Places to Work" - St. Louis Business Journal, bizjournals.com
  23. ^ a b [1]
  24. ^ Charter Criticized by Better Business Bureau, isp-planet.com
  25. ^ [2], pcworld.com
  26. ^ DSLreports.com
  27. ^ Former Charter Channel Line up on the Midco Website, midcocomm.com
  28. ^ Channel Line up on the Midco cable system in east central North Dakota, midcocomm.com
  29. ^ Netsecurity.about.com
  30. ^ MSN.com
  31. ^ Bizjournals.com
  32. ^ New York Times, nytimes.com
  33. ^ The Inquirer, theinquirer.net
  34. ^ The Associated Press (June 25, 2008). "Charter Won’t Track Customers' Web Use". via The New York Times Company. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/technology/25charter.html. Retrieved 2008-06-29. , nytimes.com
  35. ^ [3]
  36. ^ Star Telegram, star-telegram.com
  37. ^ WCNC-TV, wcnc.com
  38. ^ Louis Today, stltoday.com
  39. ^ Multichannel.com
  40. ^ Espn.go.com
  41. ^ [4]
  42. ^ [5]
  43. ^ American City Business Journals, Inc., bizjournals.com
  44. ^ Charter Communications News Release
  45. ^ [6] Charter/Tivo deal

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