September 5, 2014 / 10:14 PM / in 3 years

Time Warner Cable employees to share $416 million under retention plan

Pedestrians walk past the Time Warner Cable headquarters in New York February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

(Reuters) - Employees of Time Warner Cable will be $416 million richer even if the cable operator’s merger with Comcast does not close, a move designed to keep staff from bolting while federal regulators contemplate the deal.

A proxy statement, prepared for the shareholders meetings of both companies in October to vote on the merger, also lays out the nearly $81.8 million golden parachute that Time Warner Cable’s chairman and chief executive, Robert D. Marcus, would receive.

His payment includes cash, restricted stock, options and $300,000 to pay for financial planning services.

In all, the company will hand out golden parachutes of more than $136 million to five of its top executives if the deal closes.

Comcast Corp last February said it would buy Time Warner Cable Inc in a $45.2 billion stock swap that combines the two largest U.S. cable operators.

The day before the deal was announced, the compensation committee of Time Warner Cable’s board approved retention grants for more than 1,800 employees that would pay twice the regularly scheduled annual equity awards granted for each person in 2014.

The awards, which the proxy said totaled approximately $316.4 million in restricted stock, were awarded to compensate for bonuses in 2015 and 2016 the employees would not receive, according to the proxy.

The compensation committee also approved up to $100 million in supplemental bonuses to the more than 15,000 employees eligible to receive cash incentive bonuses. Those bonuses would equal 50 percent of each employee’s target bonus for 2014.

“The supplemental bonus opportunity was intended to enhance employee retention during the pendency of the merger, while preserving incentives designed to keep employees focused on executing on TWC’s operating plan,” according to the proxy.

The Comcast special shareholders meeting to vote on the merger will be held on Oct. 8. The Time Warner Cable special shareholders meeting will be held on Oct. 9.

Reporting by Ronald Grover; Editing by Leslie Adler

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