Charter’s $2 billion promise to Time Warner Cable isn’t worth much


Charter Communications [fortune-stock symbol=”CHTR”] insists that this time will be different. It says that its $78 billion bid to acquire Time Warner Cable [fortune-stock symbol=”TWC”] won’t run into the same regulatory roadblocks that last month caused Comcast [fortune-stock symbol=”CMCSA”] to kill its own deal for Time Warner Cable (despite 14 months of work and friends in high places). And Charter is putting its money where its mouth is, by agreeing to include a $2 billion termination fee that would kick in were Charter to walk away from the deal.

To be sure, there are all sorts of valid reasons to believe that the FCC and U.S. Department of Justice will sign off on Charter/TWC. For example, the combined company would be much smaller than was the proposed Comcast tie-up, and Charter doesn’t own any original content verticals.

But it’s worth cautioning that the $2 billion termination fee shouldn’t really…

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