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|CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. /MO/ filed this Form 10-Q on 10/26/2017|
CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
(dollars in millions, except per share amounts and where indicated)
14. Related Party Transactions
On May 23, 2015, in connection with the execution of the Merger Agreement and the amendment of the Contribution Agreement, Charter entered into the Amended and Restated Stockholders Agreement with Liberty Broadband, A/N and Legacy Charter (the “Stockholders Agreement”) and the LLC Agreement with Liberty Broadband and A/N. As of the closing of the Merger Agreement and the Contribution Agreement on May 18, 2016, the Stockholders Agreement replaced Legacy Charter’s existing stockholders agreement with Liberty Broadband, dated September 29, 2014, and superseded the amended and restated stockholders agreement among Legacy Charter, Charter, Liberty Broadband and A/N, dated March 31, 2015.
Under the terms of the Stockholders Agreement, the number of Charter’s directors is fixed at 13, and includes its CEO. Upon the closing of the Bright House Transaction, two designees selected by A/N became members of the board of directors of Charter and three designees selected by Liberty Broadband continued as members of the board of directors of Charter. The remaining eight directors are not affiliated with either A/N or Liberty Broadband. Each of A/N and Liberty Broadband is entitled to nominate at least one director to each of the committees of Charter’s board of directors, subject to applicable stock exchange listing rules and certain specified voting or equity ownership thresholds for each of A/N and Liberty Broadband, and provided that the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Compensation and Benefit Committee each have at least a majority of directors independent from A/N, Liberty Broadband and the Company (referred to as the “unaffiliated directors”). Each of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Compensation and Benefits Committee is currently comprised of three unaffiliated directors and one designee of each of A/N and Liberty Broadband. A/N and Liberty Broadband also have certain other committee designation and other governance rights. Upon the closing of the Bright House Transaction, Mr. Thomas Rutledge, the Company’s CEO, became the chairman of the board of Charter.
In December 2016, Charter and A/N entered into a letter agreement (the "Letter Agreement") that requires A/N to sell to Charter or to Charter Holdings, on a monthly basis, a number of shares of Charter Class A common stock or Charter Holdings common units that represents a pro rata participation by A/N and its affiliates in any repurchases of shares of Charter Class A common stock from persons other than A/N effected by Charter during the immediately preceding calendar month, at a purchase price equal to the average price paid by Charter for the shares repurchased from persons other than A/N during such immediately preceding calendar month. A/N and Charter both have the right to terminate or suspend the pro rata repurchase arrangement on a prospective basis once Charter or Charter Holdings have repurchased shares of Class A common stock or Charter Holdings common units from A/N and its affiliates for an aggregate purchase price of $537 million which threshold has been reached.
The Company is aware that Dr. John Malone may be deemed to have a 37.9% voting interest in Liberty Interactive and is Chairman of the board of directors, an executive officer position, of Liberty Interactive. Liberty Interactive owns 38.2% of the common stock of HSN, Inc. (“HSN”) and has the right to elect 20% of the board members of HSN. Liberty Interactive wholly owns QVC, Inc. (“QVC”). The Company has programming relationships with HSN and QVC which pre-date the transaction with Liberty Media Corporation. For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, the Company recorded payments in aggregate of approximately $17 million and $50 million, respectively, and for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2016, the Company recorded payments in aggregate of approximately $18 million and $33 million, respectively, from HSN and QVC as part of channel carriage fees and revenue sharing arrangements for home shopping sales made to customers in the Company’s footprint.
Dr. Malone and Mr. Steven Miron, each a member of Charter’s board of directors, also serve on the board of directors of Discovery Communications, Inc., (“Discovery”) and the Company is aware that Dr. Malone owns 5.1% in the aggregate of the common stock of Discovery and has a 28.5% voting interest in Discovery for the election of directors. The Company is aware that Advance/Newhouse Programming Partnership (“A/N PP”), an affiliate of A/N and in which Mr. Miron is the CEO, owns 100% of the Series A preferred stock of Discovery and 100% of the Series C preferred stock of Discovery, representing approximately 34.6% of the outstanding equity of Discovery’s stock, on an as-converted basis. A/N PP has the right to appoint three directors out of a total of eleven directors to Discovery’s board to be elected by the holders of Discovery’s Series A preferred stock. In addition, Dr. Malone is a member of the board of directors of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. ("Lions Gate", parent company of Starz, Inc.) and owns approximately 5.9% in the aggregate of the common stock of Lions Gate and has 8.1% of the voting power, pursuant to his ownership of Lions Gate Class A voting shares. The Company purchases programming from both Discovery and Lions Gate pursuant to agreements entered into prior to Dr. Malone and Mr. Miron joining Charter’s board of directors. Based on publicly available information, the Company does not believe that either Discovery or Lions Gate would currently be considered related parties. The amounts paid in the aggregate to Discovery and Lions Gate represent less than 3% of total operating costs and expenses for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017 and 2016.