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Market Swapping Time

Alan Breznick

3:00 PM -- Watch out, America. The nation's two largest cable operators are getting ready to play one of their favorite games -- market-swapping.

Now that the Feds have given Comcast and Time Warner Cable the all-clear to swallow up and split up poor Adelphia Communications, the two MSOs are preparing to take over different cable systems that Adelphia owns. As the big spender in the $17.6 billion joint deal, Time Warner plans to take charge of Adelphia's systems in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Buffalo, the Carolinas, and Maine. For its part, Comcast has claimed Adelphia's systems in south Florida, Boston, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Conn., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Vermont.

As part of the complicated transaction, the two monoliths plan to trade cable properties to unwind Comcast's equity stake in Time Warner and beef up their regional monopolies. So, like two kids playing Risk or Monopoly, they will divvy up the country's major markets between them, giving millions of cable subscribers a new system owner to swear at, including our beloved Philter himself.

So who will get what? Glad you asked. Comcast will assume control of Time Warner's cable systems in Minneapolis, Memphis, Tenn., Jackson, Miss., Louisiana, and northeastern Florida, enabling it to dominate in those markets. And Time Warner will get Comcast's huge systems in Los Angeles and Dallas (sorry to break the news to you this way, Phil), allowing it to do the same.

Got a problem with all these system switcheroos? Too bad. It's all a done deal. The FTC and FCC have already approved the Adelphi buyout. And the two companies plan to close on the takeover in the next week or so.

— Alan Breznick, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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