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Justice Dept. Approves Time Warner Sale

Time Warner Cable

The U.S. Department of Justice and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler have approved Charter Communications' $78-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, CNN Money reports.

The full Federal Communications Commission must vote to accept Wheeler's recommendation, which "is believed to be a formality in this case," CNN Money said.

The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Time Warner systems have been in play for two years. Under the failed 2014 merger of Comcast (No. 1 US cable operator) and Time Warner (No. 2), Charter was going to buy all Time Warner systems in Ohio and Kentucky, including Greater Cincinnati, Southwestern Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

When the Comcast deal fell through last year, St. Louis-based Charter announced plans last May to buy Time Warner.

The Justice Department approved the sale with several conditions. According to CNN Money, Charter will be:

--Prohibited from putting data caps in place or charging customers based on usage.

--Prevented from charging internet content providers fees for connecting them to customers.

The restrictions last for seven years to "focus on removing unfair barriers to video competition," said the two agencies in a joint statement Monday.

"The deal will affect one in six American households," CNN Money reported.

Charter is expected to remove or downplay the Time Warner brand name. Charter promotes its products as the Spectrum brand, CNN Money said.