Fourteen months after it all began, Comcast has officially withdrawn its $45 billion bid to acquire Time Warner Cable. The deal, which would have combined the two largest cable companies in the US, came under intense scrutiny by regulators, and was the subject of much debate over how much broadband and pay-TV market share one company should have.
News reports this week suggested that both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) were opposed to the merger, and that the FCC planned to turn the fate of the transaction over to an administrative law judge. (See Comcast Reportedly Dropping $45B TWC Bid.)
Today, we move on. 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 NBCUniversal 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.
In the short term, the end of the Comcast deal also means an end to several other planned transactions. Charter Communications Inc. will no longer add to its customer footprint through a series of system swaps and divestitures that were tied to the Comcast/Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) merger. Nor will plans proceed as expected to create a new spin-off company called GreatLand. Charter also recently said it would acquire Bright House Networks , but that deal too was contingent on Comcast's buyout of Time Warner Cable. (See What If the Comcast Merger Fails?)
Now that the Comcast deal has been quashed, the chess pieces go back on the board for a new round of acquisition hunting. A consolidation trend among service providers is well underway. The only question now is who makes the next move.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading