Charter Cable Completes Its Chapter 11 Paperwork
• Company Says Customers Unaffected
BY ANNE SOBLE
BY ANNE SOBLE
Local cable provider Charter Communications, Inc. announced the next phase of its financial restructuring last week, which is expected to reduce the company’s debt by approximately $8 billion. The company maintains that the fiscal problems will not impact its Malibu customers.
Consistent with the terms of agreements-in-principle dating back to mid-February, St. Louis based Charter filed its pre-arranged plan and Chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
“The financial restructuring is good news for Charter and our customers and, if approved, will result in Charter being better positioned to deliver the products and services our customers demand now and in the future,” said Neil Smit, president and chief executive officer.
“Charter’s operations are strong, and throughout this process, we will continue serving our customers as usual. We look forward to an expeditious restructuring, and once completed, we believe that Charter will be a stronger company.”
In conjunction with last week’s filings, the company also filed customary motions to continue to support its employees, customers and vendors during the financial restructuring process. The company has filed motions seeking permission to continue employee wage and benefits programs and honor current customer programs without interruption, and to pay trade creditor balances and fees to local franchise authorities, including the City of Malibu, incurred “before and after the filing in full and in the normal course.”
In recent years, satellite competitors have hit Charter hard, especially in areas of western Malibu. The company had systems here and in other areas that were late in adopting state-of-the-art technology and the redundancy to cope with natural disasters capable of knocking out service.
Charter also struggled with a poor customer service reputation that it had to work hard to overcome with strong local advertising campaigns that stressed its technological upgrades.
The chief media spokesperson for Charter in St. Louis, Anita Lamont, reiterated the customer assurances to the Malibu Surfside News in a telephone interview late last week, “From the customers’ point of view, they should know that our operations are strong.”
“We will continue to serve cable, Internet and telephone service needs without interruption.” Lamont said, adding, “A number of major improvements, such as higher speed Internet services, are nearing completion.”
Additional information about Charter’s restructuring, including the disclosure statement describing the pre-arranged plan and the terms of the committed and optional investments by members of the bondholder committee, is available at the company’s website www.charter.com
Interested individuals may also obtain information at the company’s restructuring information line, 800-419-3922.
Access to court documents and other general information about the cases are available at www.kccllc.net/charter