Cable Tech

Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC

Fourteen months after it all began, Comcast has officially withdrawn its $45 billion bid to acquire Time Warner Cable.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.)

Rather than fight the government, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) issued a statement this morning announcing an end to its TWC pursuit. From Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts:

    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?)

For more fixed broadband market coverage and insights, check out our dedicated broadband content channel here on Light Reading.

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

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mendyk 4/28/2015 | 9:10:46 AM
Doggin the bounty hunters I've heard that Comcast was so sure that the TWC deal would happen that it had already undertaken layoffs in what it expected to be redundant departments. Now it has to restock the talent pool and is offering its remaining employees a modest bounty for bringing in new people.
kq4ym 4/27/2015 | 6:47:35 PM
Re: Amazing... With 14 months gone and boatloads of money invested, one wonders how prepared they were for pulling the plug. Could this have been a conspiracy to see how the government agencies would react and now they go on to something big that will actually fly?
DHagar 4/27/2015 | 2:03:43 PM
Re: Amazing danelcawrey, yes, I think it just was seen as a full domination of the market that could negatively impact the consumer.  That was particularly a sensitive issue as well with the recent "consumer protection" position that they have taken with the net neutrality regs.

I think Charter and any other partner will pass the test and be approved.
danielcawrey 4/27/2015 | 12:05:14 PM
Re: Amazing... I'm always wary of these sorts of companies getting too big and eventually making things more difficult for customers. This deal just smelled like that to me.

Who knows though – it might have been good for everyone. Except that the government certainly didn't seem to think so. 
Phil_Britt 4/27/2015 | 11:01:41 AM
Re: Charter If Charter offer is made for TWC, doubt that Justice or FCC will object. Problem with Comcast was the concentration of content and coverage. Charter won't have that issue.
Joe Stanganelli 4/26/2015 | 11:07:25 PM
Re: Comcast walks Maybe the real reason they backed out is that they saw how poor TWC's service was.  ;)
thebulk 4/26/2015 | 1:51:53 PM
Re: Charter Perhaps he was asking to much or just couldnt attract the type of offeres he would need to. Lets see if things change this time around. 
MordyK 4/26/2015 | 1:39:32 PM
Re: Charter at one point about 2 years ago Jim Nolan mentioned selling as they're private and wouldn't have the financial wherewithal to be on the acquiring side, but it appears nobody took him seriously.
thebulk 4/26/2015 | 1:13:03 PM
Re: Charter It would seem that way, I wonder what their plan is, are they even thinking about merging, or maybe they have another end game. 
MordyK 4/25/2015 | 10:24:28 PM
Re: Charter And most of their quality territories - like portions of the greater NY metro area - are adjacent to TWC. Whoever rolls up TWC (Charter) would be a natural fit for Cablevision. 
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