Comcast's $45 billion merger deal with Time Warner Cable will reportedly be sent to an administrative judge, and that could put Time Warner Cable into play. Fred Katayama reports.
A move by the FCC could cut the proposed cord that would tie Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Published reports say the federal agency will recommend that the $45 billion merger be sent for review to an administrative judge, a sign the FCC doesn't see the deal in the public's interest. A prolonged delay could potentially kill the deal. Comcast neither confirmed nor denied the report. A Time Warner Cable spokesman was not immediately available for comment. The two companies have been contending that their markets don't overlap and that the merger would benefit consumers by giving them faster Internet speeds. A coalition of companies opposed to the deal has told the FCC that the two combined would control more than half of the high-speed residential broadband connections in the U.S. and dominate pay TV. Shares of Time Warner Cable fell in early trading, Comcast rose. Analysts say the government doesn't appear to even want to discuss concessions, but it should take action while it can. Pivotal Research Group senior media and communications analyst Jeff Wlodarczak said, "The government has the opportunity to get something out of Comcast or they can reject the deal. And Time Warner Cable is likely swallowed up by Charter, and you end up with two massive cable players with no concessions." Last year, Charter Communications made a third stab at buying it, but Time Warner Cable rejected its bid.