Comcast confirms termination of Time Warner Cable merger

The merger of US cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable has officially been abandoned following the companies’ failure to persuade US regulators to approve the move.

“Today, we move on,” said Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts in a brief statement confirming what had already been extensively reported. “Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away.

“Comcast NBC Universal is a unique company with strong momentum. Throughout this entire process, our employees have kept their eye on the ball and we have had fantastic operating results. I want to thank them and the employees of Time Warner Cable for their tireless efforts. I couldn’t be more proud of this company and I am truly excited for what’s next.”

“We have always believed that Time Warner Cable is a one-of-a-kind asset,” said Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Robert D. Marcus. “We are strong and getting stronger. Throughout this process, we’ve been laser focused on executing our operating plan and investing in our plant, products and people to deliver great experiences to our customers.”

US telecoms regulator FCC implied the decision resulted from meetings earlier this week between itself, the companies and the Department of Justice.

“Comcast and Time Warner Cable’s decision to end Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable is in the best interests of consumers,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “The proposed transaction would have created a company with the most broadband and the video subscribers in the nation alongside the ownership of significant programming interests.

“Today, an online video market is emerging that offers new business models and greater consumer choice. The proposed merger would have posed an unacceptable risk to competition and innovation, including to the ability of online video providers to reach and serve consumers.”

Those are all reasonable observations, but they were no less true in February 2014 when the merger was first announced. This is just the latest in a string of failed US cable mergers and it will be interesting to see if any major consolidation deals do eventually get approved.

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One comment

  1. Avatar Martyn 24/04/2015 @ 5:58 pm

    The implications of this outcome are broader than for cable mergers alone. The concerns about competition and the impact on consumers that predominated in the positions reached at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice to reject the merger are applicable in the broader context of the FCC’s Open Internet Order and are valid with regard to the actions and behavior of the large telephone company broadband operators, in particular AT&T and Verizon. An article I published 7 months ago pointed out these connections under the title “Why the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Will Fail.” –

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