Light Reading
Charter and Comcast announce that Michael Willner will serve as President and CEO of "SpinCo," a proposed new spinoff cable company.

Charter/Comcast Tap Willner for Spinoff

Mari Silbey
5/15/2014
50%
50%

Industry veteran Michael Willner is ready to be a big-time cable CEO once again.

Charter Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) have announced that the former co-founder and CEO of Insight Communications has agreed to serve as president and CEO of "SpinCo," the cable spinoff that Comcast plans to create after it completes its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). Under the plan, SpinCo would inherit approximately 2.5 million customers from current Comcast and TWC markets across Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Willner left Insight in 2012 after selling the company to Time Warner Cable. He is currently president and CEO of Penthera Partners Inc. , the private software company focused on cloud and mobile technologies. Penthera powers some of the components in Comcast's cloud DVR service, including the cache-and-carry feature that allows users to download select shows from a home DVR to their mobile devices. (See TW Cable Buys Insight for $3B and Comcast Cloud DVR Storms Down East Coast.)

Even though Comcast and Time Warner have not yet received approval for their merger proposal, the two companies, along with Charter, have developed an intricate plan for reshaping the US cable landscape in the wake of the deal. Comcast plans to divest 3.9 million customers and reorganize its system footprint in a combination spinoff and exchange of subscribers with Charter.

As part of the complex agreement between Comcast and Charter:

  • Comcast would transfer to Charter approximately 1.4 million existing subscribers in the Time Warner Cable footprint.
  • Comcast and Charter would exchange approximately 1.6 million subscribers each in an effort to improve geographic efficiencies.
  • Comcast would spin off an additional 2.5 million subscribers into SpinCo, which would be approximately 67% owned by Comcast/Time Warner Cable shareholders, and approximately 33% owned by the new, larger Charter entity. Comcast would have no role in managing the new spinoff company.

Comcast and Charter say that SpinCo will have a board of directors that includes three members appointed by Charter, including current president and CEO Tom Rutledge, who will act as non-executive chairman. Comcast will appoint three more members of the board and select the final three from a Charter-provided list.

Willner's long background in the cable industry makes him a reasonably safe bet to lead SpinCo. In addition to running Insight Communications, he was also COO of Vision Cable Communications and served twice as chairman of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) . As the head of Insight, he oversaw many of the Midwestern cable systems that SpinCo would inherit.

Willner has expressed concern in the past that the cable industry isn't keeping up with market changes and the rise of over-the-top video services. "The fear I have always had is that we get a little complacent about being the incumbent," he said last year at The Independent Show. "Incumbency can be your worst enemy and best friend at the same time." (See Cable Model Needs Urgent Fix.)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/15/2014 | 3:26:04 PM
Willner
I quite like Willner as a person, he used to visit our forums frequently and ran his blog quite candidly until 2012 or so. I wonder though how short lived his tenure will be at this new SpinCo however, as I think Charter gets a 33% stake and will inevitably just acquire SpinCo in a year or two after the press and public forgets the purported regulatory benefits of minimizing consolidation.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/15/2014 | 2:11:25 PM
Done deal
Comcast is certainly acting like the merger is a done deal, even though it has to go through approval. 
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Microgenesis on Huawei's Switches

9|19|14   |   3:57   |   (0) comments


Microgenesis is a solutions and system integrator company in the Philippines whose areas of expertise include data centers, networking and security products. In this video, Executive Director Jeffrey Choa talks to us about his customers needs and they benefit from using Huawei switches.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Network Solutions Help the Philippines Jump Ahead

9|17|14   |   2:59   |   (0) comments


In the past, the Philippines has under-invested in technology. Now, the CEO of Softshell talks about how Huawei products help the Philippines jump ahead as the economy improves.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
VCS Observation for Safer Cities in the Netherlands

9|17|14   |   5:20   |   (0) comments


Holland's VCS Observation has been operating for 22 years. Its main goal is to get cities safer. CEO Wim van Deijzen tells us some of the challenges his company faces and how Huawei is helping to overcome these challenges.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
A Conversation With Serbia's Ministry of Interior

9|17|14   |   4:38   |   (0) comments


At HCC 2014, the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia talks to us about his projects and corporation with Huawei. Solutions like Safe City and E-Government and services like cloud computing are just some of the areas his department is interested in.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (1) comment


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
AT&T: We'll Bundle Fixed Wireless & DirecTV
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/15/2014
New NFV Forum Focused on Interoperability
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/16/2014
NFV & The Data Center: Top 10 Takeaways
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/18/2014
Connecticut Cities Crowdsource Gigabit Nets
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/15/2014
Pics: LR's Women in Telecom Breakfast
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed