Charter Communications Inc. said it expects to emerge from bankruptcy proceedings in the next several weeks after a judge approved the No. 4 U.S. cable operator's plan to reorganize by reinstating $11.8 billion in debt.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck in New York approved Charter's plan from the bench Thursday and must still issue a confirming order.
Thursday's ruling is "a major milestone, having found in favor of Charter on all significant issues," Neil Smit, Charter's president and chief executive, said in a statement. "We will emerge as a stronger company with a significantly improved capital structure."
Charter, based in St. Louis, has about 5.5 million customers in 27 states. It entered Chapter 11 after being overwhelmed by more than $21 billion in debt.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., acting as an agent for banks and funds that lent Charter $8.2 billion in 1999, said the plan would shift most of founder Paul Allen's 91% stake to four holders of Charter notes.