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Comcast Says TWC Deal Will Close Later

Mari Silbey
3/26/2015

The odds-makers must be enjoying themselves today.

After initially declaring that its deal to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) would close by the end of 2014 or early 2015, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is now resetting expectations to suggest that the US government's regulatory review of the $45 billion transaction won't wrap up till around summer time.

In a fresh blog post, Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen said, "Given the FCC's recent decision to pause the shot clock, we have recently reassessed the time frame when we expect the government's regulatory review to be completed and now expect that the review should be concluded in the middle of the year."

If Cohen is right, the timing would match up with the American Cable Association (ACA) 's prediction. ACA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Ross Lieberman estimated earlier this month that a decision on the merger wouldn't be delivered until the summer. Lieberman cited the 230-day review of Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal LLC four years ago as evidence that the TWC transaction could take longer than expected. The ACA spokesperson did, however, make a bet that the government will ultimately approve the deal. (See DC Insiders Handicap Cable's Big Merger .)


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One of the major reasons the merger timeline has been extended is because of the volume of documentation the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has requested. Currently, several of these records requests are being held up in court because programmers are concerned about sharing the details of their contract negotiations with Comcast and TWC. The FCC has stopped its own review shot clock until the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decides whether programmers have a right to withhold contract details from an extended merger review committee. (See FCC Stops Clock on Merger Madness.)

Meanwhile, Comcast is trying to stay on the FCC's good side by limiting its criticisms of the Commission's recent decision to regulate broadband providers under Title II of the Communications Act. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is expected to sue the FCC on behalf of cable operators, but Comcast has so far distanced itself from a direct fight with the Commission. (See Net Neutrality Suits: Only The Beginning?)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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MikeP688
MikeP688
4/19/2015 | 3:38:04 PM
Re: Groundhog Day
Beyond your thoughts, as many are already aware here "in community" that Justice is reportedly coming out against this deal--although it may ultimately be "overruled" by higher authority.    It seems to me that all of these guys are turning out to be truly "too big" to fail--but thankfully we're at least seeing the "cord cutting" continuing to gather momentum.  

What is certain is this--Never ever a dull moment :-) :-) 
Ariella
Ariella
4/17/2015 | 2:07:26 PM
Re: Groundhog Day
I see the opposition is still working at it. I just saw this in my Twitter stream: https://hearusnow.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ComcastLetter4.16.pdf
MikeP688
MikeP688
3/31/2015 | 9:38:36 AM
Re: Groundhog Day
As we await the "final decision", others are not standing idly by.   I was gratified to see Comcast coming out with the 1 GB Fibre test...but Verizon's moves is something that is ever so crucial to take notice of:

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/03/30/why-the-cable-industry-should-fear-verizons-streaming-video-app/?wpisrc=nl_tech&wpmm=1

The title of the article is "Should"...I would have written it a bit differently--and replaced "Should" with "Must" 
MikeP688
MikeP688
3/30/2015 | 2:23:59 PM
Re: Groundhog Day
The Lawyers are having a field day--in the meantime creativity and customer service suffers.    It is a tragic testimony to our times. 
kq4ym
kq4ym
3/30/2015 | 2:00:38 PM
Re: Groundhog Day
It's not surprising to see delays in such a deal. The atttorneys will be jockeying for postition for some time for their respective interests. With delays are reported: "records requests are being held up in court" it may take some time to clear the way to closing is my guess.
MikeP688
MikeP688
3/30/2015 | 1:49:18 PM
Re: Groundhog Day
Why should the FCC be hospitable?   FCC already has been bending over backwards.   I also don't lose sleep over the big companies and the channels.    I found it quite interesting how BuzzFeed and CNN are trying to muscle their way in further as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier. 
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
3/30/2015 | 10:49:49 AM
Re: Groundhog Day
In the face of all these delays, I wonder whether Comcast and TWC will ever decide it's too much and just call it quits. 
Phil_Britt
Phil_Britt
3/30/2015 | 8:51:27 AM
Re: Groundhog Day
Mitch Wagner,

 

You're right about it taking forever...but the definition of forever will continue to expand. If settlement isn't expected until the summer, you can make a pretty good bet it will likley be dealyed until the third or fourth quarter.
SachinEE
SachinEE
3/30/2015 | 3:26:44 AM
Re: Groundhog Day
One major cause of the delay has been a dispute between big TV channel owners and the FCC over the confidentiality of programmers' contracts with Comcast and other pay-TV providers. Maybe if they were a little hospitable towards their subsidiaries and management in mergers this wouldn't have happened. 
MikeP688
MikeP688
3/29/2015 | 10:08:37 PM
Re: Groundhog Day
I am with you @Mitch--and the Roberts Clan is savvy enough to understand the value of it--no question.   Will it pay off, though?     I think it is an open question--and if the FCC says no, then all of this would have been for nothing.   
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