Comments Share Less than 48 hours away from kickoff against the New England Patriots, the Arizona Cardinals still don’t have a clear picture on their quarterback position.That’s because head coach Ken Whisenhunt isn’t sharing too much information on it.After practice Friday, Whisenhunt still wouldn’t offer up a definitive decision, instead suggesting optimism on the John Skelton front.“I have hope that he can be available,” Whisenhunt said. “(Friday) he was out of the boot and did some work on the field and the rehab stuff. I know he’s into the plan mentally.” What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Top Stories Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Skelton injured his ankle in the fourth quarter of the Cardinals’ 20-16 season-opening win over Seattle last Sunday. He was replaced by Kevin Kolb, who led the Cardinals on the go-ahead scoring drive. So does Whisenhunt’s optimism mean that a player who was carted off the field with his right leg in an air cast five days ago is going to play Sunday?“It’s doubtful that he would play, but I was encouraged by what I saw out of him today.”So it’s likely (although not official) that Kolb will make his first start of the season, 17th of his career and 10th as a Cardinal Sunday.Arizona Sports’ Adam Green contributed to this report
Two women aged 31 and 32 who were arrested at Larnaca airport on Saturday after being caught carrying a kilo of cocaine between them, were remanded on Monday for eight days.The women, who are third-country nationals, arrived on the island from another European country late on Saturday and were initially denied entry at passport control. Following interrogation, they were to be sent back to their country of origin on the next available flight.During the departure process and baggage check, however, a quantity of white powder, which turned out to be 500grammes of cocaine was found in one of the suitcases.Drug-squad officers were then called in and arrested the women who were taken to Larnaca General Hospital for radiological testing.During an internal search of the 31-year-old, two other packages were identified. After they were expelled, it was found that they contained a quantity of cocaine of a total weight of about 500g.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: VanSingel News No appointments are necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. VanSingel’s office at (517) 373-7317 or by email at ScottVanSingel@house.mi.gov. State Rep. Scott VanSingel of Grant announces his upcoming office hours for the month of January.“It is important for me to hear the questions and concerns that residents may have regarding state government so I can bring their ideas to Lansing,” VanSingel said. “All residents are welcome to participate in my office hours.”Rep. VanSingel will be available at the following times and locations:Friday, Jan. 269 to 10 a.m. at Irons Cafe, 5408 10½ mile Road in Irons;10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Luther Library, 115 State St. in Luther; andNoon to 1 p.m. at the Lake County Building, Board of Commissioners Room, 800 10th in Baldwin. 04Jan Rep. VanSingel announces January office hours Monday, Jan. 298 to 9 a.m. at Daniel’s, 55 E. South Ave. in Hesperia;9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at One Main Street, 1 E. Main St. in Fremont; and11 a.m. to noon at the Newaygo County Building, Board of Commissioners Room, 1087 Newell St. in White Cloud.
12Mar Local residents can meet with Rep. Webber on March 19 State Rep. Michael Webber will host his monthly office hours on Monday, March 19 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Panera Bread, 2508 S. Adams Road in Rochester Hills.“I always look forward to meeting people in the Greater Rochester area and discussing matters of state government,” Rep. Webber said. “Connecting with community members is one of my top priorities as a state representative.”Rochester Hills City Council President Mark Tisdel will also be in attendance to meet residents, discuss local issues and answer questions.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Webber at 517-373-1773 or via email at MichaelWebber@house.mi.gov. Categories: Webber News
Categories: News,Pagel News 20Mar Rep. Pagel: More money for road improvements headed to Berrien, Cass counties Road repair crews in Berrien and Cass counties will have more money than previously expected this construction season, state Rep. Dave Pagel of Oronoko Township announced today.A $175 million transportation project funding bill newly signed into law includes additional money headed directly to counties, cities and villages for road improvements. The money is already available because various state departments did not spend as much as originally projected during a previous budget cycle, meaning no additional fees or taxes are needed for the investment.“After this terrible winter, our roads are in extremely rough shape,” Pagel said. “This additional investment is the latest step in an ongoing effort to address an urgent need in southwest Michigan and the entire state.”The primary road agency for Berrien County will get an estimated $1.15 million in additional money, while Cass County’s agency will get an estimated $524,238 in extra funds. Cities and villages with road departments get extra money in addition to that, including Baroda ($6,789), Berrien Springs ($13,509), Buchanan ($36,770), Eau Claire ($5,897), Edwardsburg ($8,782), Galien ($5,355), Grand Beach ($5,871), Michiana ($5,084), New Buffalo ($20,560), Niles ($84,782) and Three Oaks ($11,997).The extra money comes in addition to record-high road funding provided by previous long-term reforms. The state also has strengthened its warranty system designed to make new and refurbished roads last longer.###
Categories: News 22Jun Rep. Lucido honors World War II veteran for 100th birthday State Rep. Peter Lucido honors Ardle Taylor (center) with a special tribute. Back row: (from left to right) State Rep. Peter J. Lucido, Eric Hipple, Jason Foltz, and Danny Cusenza. Front row: (from left to right) David Dudek, Laura Rios and Peggy J. Taylor.State Rep. Peter Lucido gave a special tribute to World War II veteran Ardle Taylor for his recent 100th birthday.Taylor, from Romeo, spent approximately five years in the military, serving his country during World War II as a Radar Operator stationed in Panama. After his term ended, Taylor worked construction and then for Ford Motor Company.“I want to thank Ardle Taylor for his service and wish him a happy 100th birthday,” Rep. Lucido said. “I will continue to support our veterans who have fought for our freedoms.”Taylor was married for 68 years to his wife, Cleo. Their two sons, Glenn and Barry Taylor, say family has always been very important to their father. He is an avid Detroit Tigers fan and a diehard fan of the Detroit Lions. He is a 32nd Degree member of the Centerline Masonic Lodge, and is also a Shriner.Taylor’s Daughter-in-law, Peggy J. Taylor; Prevention Concepts and Solutions executive director David Dudek, chief operations officer Jason Foltz, outreach specialist Danny Cusenza, outreach specialist and former Detroit Lions quarterback Eric Hipple; and the Macomb Veterans Action Collaborative (MVAC) co-chair Laura Rios were in attendance.###
Share64Tweet14ShareEmail78 SharesBy Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA (Native Americans protesting against Donald Trump) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsApril 23, 2018, Politico and Indian Country TodayIn responding to a request from tribal leaders to exempt American Indians from Medicaid work requirements, the Trump administration has asserted that such an exemption would violate civil rights laws barring race-based preferences. American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN), however, belong to 566 US-recognized sovereign nations, and those relationships are governed by longstanding treaty obligations and the US Constitution, not racial identity.The new policy “does not honor the duty of the federal government to uphold the government-to-government relationship and recognize the political status enshrined in the Constitution, treaties, federal statutes, and other federal laws,” said Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, in Indian Country Today. “Our political relationship is not based upon race.”In the U.S. about 5 million people identify as either full or part AIAN. The Indian Health Service (IHS) provides free care to 2.2 million AIANs who belong to federally recognized tribes. All of these native peoples are also eligible for Medicaid if they meet state and federal requirements. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid covers one in four (27 percent) of AIAN adults and half of AIAN children.Medicaid coverage gives beneficiaries access to medical services that may not be available through the Indian Health Service. This is important, since overall, AIANs have comparatively poor health status as compared to the larger non-Native population. More than a quarter (26 percent) of non-elderly AIAN adults rate their health as fair or poor compared to 15 percent of the non-Native adults.Despite the obligation of the U.S. government to fund health services for native peoples, federal appropriations for the Indian Health Service are not adequate to meet the needs of the population. The government provides about $4.8 billion in direct payments; this budget is supplemented by $800 million in Medicaid payments, along with smaller amounts from Medicare and private insurance.The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provided about $100 million in new revenues to IHS, strengthening health care delivery and increasing access to care for 237,000 newly insured AIANs. Two years following the implementation of the ACA, the uninsured rate for AIANs had fallen from 24 percent to 17 percent, with the largest drop in Medicaid expansion states. An Urban Health Program in Arizona reported that one of its clinics saw a drop in the uninsured rate of patients from 85 percent to 10 percent.The Indian Health Service and tribal leaders fear that work requirements will result in a precipitous drop in AIAN Medicaid beneficiaries, damaging budgets and access to medical services. Notably, jobs are scarce on Indian reservations. In 2016, the unemployment rate for AIANs was 12 percent, triple the rate for the general population. The barriers to employment, including transportation, job skills, child care, and other supports, are significant—and states that are implementing work requirements are not providing the infrastructure necessary to overcome these barriers. In fact, most advocates believe that work requirements are designed to reduce Medicaid enrollment.Lawyers for the tribal governments have submitted a memo to the Trump administration warning that the Department of Health and Human Services ruling violates its legal responsibilities. “[The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)] has a duty to ensure that [American Indians] are not subjected to state-imposed work requirements that would present a barrier to their participation in the Medicaid program,” they write. “CMS not only has ample legal authority to make such accommodations, it has a duty to require them.”“The United States has a legal responsibility to provide health care to Native Americans,” said Mary Smith, acting head of the Indian Health Service during the Obama administration and a member of the Cherokee Nation, in Politico. “It’s the largest prepaid health system in the world—they’ve paid through land and massacres—and now you’re going to take away health care and add a work requirement?”With all the its implications for tribal sovereignty, looks like this latest decision by the administration is likely to end up in court.—Karen KahnShare64Tweet14ShareEmail78 Shares
Share4TweetShareEmail4 SharesMartin Kraft [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia CommonsAugust 21, 2018; Washington PostSilent Sam is a monument found on the campus of one of the nation’s claimants to the title of oldest public university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). The statue of a Confederate soldier was given to the school from the North Carolina division of the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1913, nearly 50 years following the end of the Civil War and less than two decades after the Supreme Court decision of upholding “separate by equal” (Plessy v. Fergusson) had help consolidate “Jim Crow” laws in the South. The invited speaker at the unveiling of the monument, Julian Carr, was an alumnus of UNC, but also a prominent industrialist and supporter of the Ku Klux Klan. Carr made clear what the statue symbolized through a personal story in his lengthy unveiling address:One hundred yards from where we stand, less than 90 days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterwards slept with a double-barrel shot gun under my head.On Monday, the day before classes began, Silent Sam was torn down by protesters on UNC campus. Student activists and many others have long called for the removal of Silent Sam due to what it symbolizes—and in some ways endorses. Earlier this year, Maya Little, an African American graduate student at UNC, doused the statue with a mix of ink and her own blood “because it sits sanitized, and yet it’s founded on this idea of violence towards black people.”Silent Sam has been at the center of controversy since the 1960s during the Civil Rights movement and it was first vandalized the day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Efforts by civil rights groups and others to do away with Confederate monuments like Silent Sam gained momentum three years ago after Dylann Roof murdered nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. As Jonathan Drake reports for Reuters, “The shooting rampage ultimately led to the removal of a Confederate flag from the statehouse in Columbia, and now more than 110 symbols of the Confederacy have been removed across the nation with more than 1,700 still standing.”So, with all the controversy and the expressed concern and discomfort of UNC students, why didn’t the UNC administration act? Last August, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told university officials that the statue could be removed if they believed that “there is a real risk to public safety,” but UNC chose not to because they believed that “removing the statue would violate a 2015 law that forbids taking down public monuments without the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission.”On Monday night, University Chancellor Carol Folt wrote an open letter denouncing the vandalism that took place but acknowledging the controversy the monument has always caused, stating, “The monument has been divisive for years, and its presence has been a source of frustration for many people not only on our campus but throughout the community.” She continues, “However, last night’s actions were unlawful and dangerous, and we are very fortunate that no one was injured. The police are investigating the vandalism and assessing the full extent of the damage.”For years, the community and the students at UNC have cried out their disdain for the statue, yet nothing has been done. Monday’s incident symbolizes a desire to be heard and understood by those who protested.—Diandria BarberShare4TweetShareEmail4 Shares
Share14Tweet3ShareEmail17 Shares February 12, 2019; Washington Post and ChalkbeatSchool districts are as segregated today, racially and economically, as they were before the Supreme Court told the nation that this was unconstitutional and had to change. More than a year ago, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed a School Diversity Advisory Group (SDAG) comprising more than 40 school, nonprofit, and community leaders to provide guidance on how his city should address the racial and economic segregation reality of its public schools. Earlier this week SDAG delivered its preliminary report and challenged the City’s leadership to make good on its promises that all of the city’s schools would reflect the city’s diverse population by taking steps that have, in the past, been politically very difficult to realize.In the report’s introduction, the advisory group presents a stark picture of the challenge the city faces and of the reality of educational segregation in the heart of New York.Sixty-five years since Brown v. Board of Education declared racially segregated schools unconstitutional, New York City has taken only very modest steps to live up to these challenges. In fact, a 2014 study by the UCLA Civil Rights Project found that New York State schools are the most segregated in the country—more segregated than the schools in Alabama or Mississippi. This fact ought to horrify every member of our proud city.The Group’s goal is aggressive. Over five years, according to the New York Times, “Elementary and middle schools should reflect the racial makeup of their local school district, and high schools should look as much like their local borough as possible, in terms of race, income level, disability and proficiency in English.”Currently, only 29 percent of schools are at or near the report’s defined goals.This preliminary report recognizes that it’s best to begin where success is most easily achievable. For middle and elementary schools, the city is divided into 32 “districts,” and nine of these are seen as most ripe for moving toward full integration. But the report also addresses the needs of the students who will be left in difficult to integrate schools. As Richard Kahlenberg, a member of SDAG and director of K–12 equity and senior fellow at the Century Foundation, blogged,The advisory group report includes a series of detailed recommendations around equitable resources, culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy, restorative justice school discipline policies, and greater faculty diversity. These recommendations apply to all schools, whether they have successfully become integrated yet or not, and therefore many of them can be applied right away—and, we believe, should be.The group also proposed naming a chief integration officer, adding diversity measures to the measures used to judge quality and improvement, and creating a task force to attack the problem of PTA fundraising, which currently allows affluent schools to differentially benefit their children.More difficult issues have been deferred. According to ChalkBeat, these include “what to do about gifted and talented programs and selective admissions processes called screening…The report also steers clear of the mayor’s proposal to overhaul admissions at specialized high schools in a bid to better integrate them, an effort that has sparked intense backlash and prompted a lawsuit.” The group also “stopped short of pushing for any citywide mandates that would require parents to choose more diverse schools or school rezonings that would force more racial and economic integration.” The report also does not take on the implications for schools that fail to show progress toward integration.The report goes beyond the moral imperative of integration and stresses the proven academic value of a diverse school system:“All students benefit when they can learn from classmates who have different life experiences to share, evidenced by higher academic outcomes, stronger critical thinking skills, and increased creativity.”“All students benefit from reductions in prejudices and implicit biases and improved social-emotional well-being.”“Students benefit from experiences that prepare them for an increasingly diverse society.”This supports Mayor de Blasio’s stated belief that change must come up from the bottom and his aversion to compulsory tactics. It also acts as a response to the political pushback that integration often brings out.Will this report, written by an illustrious and well-intentioned group, become yet another that is presented with great fanfare, never to be heard about again? Or will it become the spark for real and sustained change? Let’s check back 12 months from now and see.—Martin LevineShare14Tweet3ShareEmail17 Shares
French technology company Technicolor has completed its refinancing, with investment firm Tech Finance purchasing an aggregate principal amount of €905 million of Technicolor’s outstanding senior debt.Technicolor said the move allows it borrow new funds at a lower interest rate and extends the maturity of its debt – which is now based almost entirely on loans – until 2020.With the refinancing, the total consolidated amount of senior gross debt bears interest at an average nominal rate of 7.4%, an 80 basis point improvement, leading to a pro-forma reduction of €14.8 million in overall annual interest charges, Technicolor said.“The successful completion of our refinancing, notwithstanding challenging financial market conditions, marks another important step in Technicolor’s financial structure improvement. We have been able to reduce our average interest expense, effectively extend the maturity of our debt, and gain greater operating flexibility to deliver on our Amplify 2015 objectives,” said Technicolor CEO Frederic Rose.
Satellite operator Intelsat has named John Diercksen as an independent director.Diercksen, currently an executive vice-president at Verizon Communications, will also serve on Intelsat’s audit committee.We are delighted to have John join Intelsat’s board,” said David McGlade, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Intelsat. “With his background in telecommunications, strategic planning and public company experience, I look forward to his insight and perspective as we execute our strategy for meeting the future needs of our customers.”
Level 3 Communications has expanded its Vyvx broadcast capabilities into South Africa, in a move that will allow companies like domestic firms like Telemedia to broadcast video content internationally.Level 3’s new Vyvx Point of Presence in Johannesburg means companies in South Africa will now be able to more rapidly transmit live sports, breaking news and other video content to international audiences.The access point also mean companies in North America, Western Europe and Latin America can more easily deliver their broadcast content to South Africa, said Level 3, announcing the deal at IBC.Level 3 is a global communications services firm that offers services including fibre and infrastructure solutions, IP-based voice and data communications, wide-area Ethernet services, video and content distribution, and data centre and cloud-based solutions. The firm serves customers in more than 500 markets in 55 countries using a global services platform that is anchored by owned fibre networks on three continents and connected by extensive undersea facilities.
German city network provider NetCologne is launching a new multiscreen service, Web’n’App TV, that will make services available to PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones via local WiFi networks. Customers of NetCologne and NetAachen will be able to receive 40 live TV channels, including a number in HD.The service is available free of charge to all NetCologne and NetAachen new subscribers to its 100Mbps internet services.
German music service Deluxe Music has turned to pay TV operator Sky Deutschland’s advertising sales arm Sky Media Network to provide ad sales. HighView-owned free-to-air Deluxe Music offers a wide range of music programming, covering popular classics and rare tracks. The service has been available on the HD+ platform since December last year.
The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, brought by a group of American Broadcasting Companies, against online TV streaming service Aereo. The news comes after Aereo last year won a lower court victory, rejecting claims by firms including Disney and CBS that the service should be shut down. The second circuit court of appeals in New York upheld a previous decision, denying an injunction against the firm for distributing broadcast television over the web.Responding to the Supreme Court’s decision to review the case, Aereo CEO and Founder Chet Kanojia said: “We have every confidence that the court will validate and preserve a consumer’s right to access local over-the-air television with an individual antenna, make a personal recording with a DVR, and watch that recording on a device of their choice.”He added: “This case is critically important not only to Aereo, but to the entire cloud computing and cloud storage industry.”Aereo lets users watch and record broadcast television over the web for US$8 (€5.86) per-month. It is currently available in 10 US markets and said it aims to grow to 15 by the end of the quarter. Earlier this month the service raised US$34 million in new funding as it sets its sights on “rapid nationwide expansion”.
Movie and TV streaming service Wuaki.tv has predicted the death of browser-based streaming in the next two years, thanks to content being streamed directly to smart TVs and connected devices.Since Wuaki introduced native apps for smart TVs made by the likes of LG, Samsung and Panasonic, it claims to have seen a massive 65% increase in movies and TV shows being streamed directly to these devices.Streaming from connected devices like tablets, Xbox consoles, smartphones and Google’s Chromecast stick have also increased by 25%, said Wuaki.As a result, the firm claims that the number of movies and TV shows streamed through web browsers has “dropped dramatically,” accounting for just 10% of its traffic.Wuaki said that in the next 12 to 24 it expects the proportion of streaming that will take place through laptop and PC browsers to fall to less than 1%.“When we first launched Wuaki.tv most of our users watched movies on their laptop, no one thought of the living room as a place to stream. Now the opposite it true,” said Wuaki.tv content director, Simon Homent.“With Smart TVs, devices like Chromecast, and native apps being so commonplace, people are streaming movies and TV to all kinds of connected devices and replacing traditional TV channels. Native apps give a much better viewing experience than browser streaming, and are often more stable as they are designed for one single purpose.“In the next two years we expect very few, if any, Wuaki.tv customers will still be streaming through a browser, and it will effectively be the death of browser streaming.”
OTT TV technology provider PeerTV says it has successfully completed a trial of the H.265 or HEVC video compression technology over the web, meaning that content can be streamed via the PeerTV set-top box using 50% of the bandwidth previously required for H.264 compression.PeerTV said it had also made a number of other upgrades to its Android-based platform, which now uses quad core processors. A games adapter has been launched allowing Android games that were originally designed for touch screen to be played with a standard remote control or external joystick/gamepad.PeerTV customers include Russian expat-focused OTT service provider Kartina TV.“Our next generation OTT TV over the internet set top box takes us to what we believe to be clear market leading position within the OTT market – we can now offer OTT providers a technology solution using Android apps, quad core technology for power and H265 compression, which delivers far superior picture and sound quality, whilst using around half the bandwidth previously needed,” said PeerTV CEO Avi Vermus.“Clearly, this opens up the market considerably and allows us to target countries where OTT TV may not yet have been considered viable, as these areas may not yet have a well-developed fast internet infrastructure.”
Jim ThebergeProgrammatic buying – the automated buying, selling and delivery of TV ad spots – is growing in importance and is vital to enable service providers to adjust in the growth of multiscreen viewing, according to Jim Theberge, director of advanced advertising, Verizon OnCue, the US telco’s streaming service, speaking at the OTTtv World Summit in London this morning.Theberge told attendees that programmatic buying is expected to account for 5% of TV ad buying in the US next year, up from 1% this, year.Programmatic buying, currently mostly carried out in local cable and satellite markets but moving to network TV, which has hitherto been wedded to the annual upfront model, allows advertisers to maximise ad spend efficiency and sellers to manage yields better, particularly as viewing migrates to multiscreen platforms, said Theberge.“As people shift their viewing habits, understanding that I’m the same person watching a show on TV, iPhone and tablet is very important for advertisers,” he said.At the moment, views on different devices are generally counted as one individual viewer per device, potentially exaggerating the size of audiences for programmes, but new technologies are emerging to enable advertisers to measure viewership more accurately. Theberge cited the example of technologies from US vendors TapAd and DrawBridge are helping advertisers work out a more accurate picture of viewing habits.Theberge said this was important for advertisers, who currently may have a distorted picture of viewing figures as a result of over-counting thanks to the number of devices over which content is distributed.Theberge said there were still issues with programmatic buying, but these were being worked through. “Fraud is something you are always going to deal with but a lot [of concern about programmatic buying] has been centred around visibility. With video that goes away,” he said, citing the example of inventory being sold that was not available immediately without scrolling down a page, for example.With about 6.5% of US households having cut the cord, dispensing with their pay TV provider in favour of OTT offerings, and cord-cutting having increased by 44% in the last three years, loss of subscribers to OTT is becoming of more concern to US operators, said Theberge.OTT adoption has increased by 55% in the first quarter of this year, up from 44% last year, he said. As a result, media agency Omnicom has advised marketers to move between 10% and 25% of TV advertising to online video.The migration of TV consumption to digital platforms has been a huge change for the TV industry, but automated buying and selling of ad inventory could remove inefficiencies, he said.
John MaloneCable magnate John Malone-backed US cable operator Charter Communications has struck a deal to merge with Time Warner Cable and acquire US number six cable operator Bright House Networks in a deal that values Time Warner Cable at US$78.7 billion (€71.6 billion). Charter is to pay US$195.71 a share, representing a premium of about 14% of Time Warner Cable’s closing price on Friday in a cash and shares deal. The operator will pay US$100 per share in cash and shares in a new public parent company, New Charter equivalent to 0.5409 shares for each Time Warner Cable share.Charter will also provide an election option for each Time Warner Cable stockholder who, with the exception of shareholders in Liberty Broadband, Malone’s investment vehicle, and Liberty Interactive, will receive stock giving them US$115 in cash and New Charter shares equivalent to 0.4562 of old Charter shares for each Time Warner Cable share they own.According to Bloomberg, which first reported the story, Charter was forced to raise its bid for the US number two cable operator after facing competition from telecom investor Patrick Drahi’s Altice, which last week struck a US$9.1 billion deal to acquire the seventh largest US operator, Suddenlink.Bloomberg reported that Drahi met Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus while in the US last week. New Charter will be led by the company’s existing CEO Tom Rutledge, who will be offered a new five-year contract and will also be offered the role of chairman. Current chairman Eric Zinterhofer will continue to serve on New Charter’s board.Charter meanwhile will fold Bright House Networks, which it is buying for US$10.4 billion, into the combined entity. Time Warner Cable itself had a right to match or block that deal under a previous agreement, and Charter’s deal with the latter clears the way for the acquisition of Bright House as well.The three-way combination will create a new number two operator serving 23.9 million customers in the US.Charter previously attempted to acquire Time Warner Cable early last year but was beaten to a deal by Comcast. It has now made a second – successful – bid for the operator following the collapse of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable agreement.Malone’s Liberty Broadband holds a 26% stake in Charter.“The teams at Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are filled with the innovators of our industry. Representatives of each of these companies have invented some of the most revolutionary communications products ever created; innovations like video on demand, VOIP phone service, remote storage DVR, cable TV through an app, downloadable security and the first backward-compatible, cloud-based user interface. That spirit of innovation will live on, and it will create real benefits and great long-term value for the customers, shareholders and employees of all three companies,” said Rutledge.“With our larger reach, we will be able to accelerate the deployment of faster Internet speeds, state-of-the-art video experiences, and fully–featured voice products, at highly competitive prices. In addition, we will drive greater competition through further deployment of new competitive facilities-based WiFi networks in public places, and the expansion of the facilities footprint of optical networks to serve the large, small and medium sized business services marketplace. New Charter will capitalise on technology to create and maintain a more effective and efficient service model. Put simply, the scale of New Charter, along with the combined talents we can bring to bear, position us to deliver a communications future that will unleash the full power of the two-way, interactive cable network.”