Time Warner says biz as usual in Buffalo

February 14, 2014 Updated Feb 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First Reporter

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Time Warner says biz as usual in Buffalo

February 14, 2014 Updated Feb 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM EDT

The pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable by media giant Comcast Corp. should not negatively impact plans announced last year that center on a major expansion of Time Warner's local operations.

And, at the same time, Sen. Charles Schumer has reached out to David Cohen, Comcast executive vice president, to make sure not only the expansion of Time Warner's Business Class operations continues in Buffalo but that none of the 1,600 people the cable company employs in the region lose their jobs because of the deal.

Local officials are confident that Time Warner's Business Class operations expansion will proceed as planned, meaning that, potentially, up to 350 new positions will be created. Time Warner, last year, announced plans to anchor McGuire Development's renovation of the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital on Buffalo' East Side. Buffalo was selected over several other cities and regions where Time Warner operates, thanks to a handsome public sector incentive package offered by the Erie County Industrial Development Agency and Empire State Development and some aggressive lobbying including a major push by Schumer.

"In light of the news of this potential merger, my biggest priority is ensuring that Comcast preserves Time Warner Cable jobs in Buffalo and all of New York," Schumer said.

Comcast, late on Feb. 12, announced plans to buy Time Warner for $45.2 billion. The deal, which must survive regulatory approvals, would give Comcast more than 22 million customers, mostly those with cable TV. Time Warner, nationally, has 11.2 million customers including approximately 300,000 in the immediate Buffalo Niagara region.

Landing the Business Class operations was considered a major economic development win for the region and helped fuel McGuire's $3.1 million makeover of the closed Michigan Avenue hospital.

"We worked hard to get Time Warner to build their new call center in Buffalo," said state Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, who also pushed hard for the center.

Schumer said in a Feb. 13 conversion with Cohen, assurances were given concerning the Buffalo workforce as well as other Time Warner employees in New York state.

"I urged Mr. Cohen to maintain the entire TWC workforce in New York and consider adding to their presence - and while there was no guarantee - my expectation is that Comcast will invest in New York - as they did after the merger with NBC - and the results of the merger will be positive for New York," Schumer said.

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