- Ukraine will compete in Sochi Paralympics despite Crimea conflict
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
Comcast acquisition deal for Time Warner primed to transform the cable box
Consumer-advocate groups mobilize against merger
Comcast Corp.’s blockbuster $45.2 billion deal to acquire top rival Time Warner Cable will further transform the cable landscape, creating the first national cable network and presenting new challenges for rivals, regulators and viewers from Los Angeles to New York City.
The Comcast offer of $158.82 per share for Time Warner would combine the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 cable systems and upend a hostile takeover attempt by Charter Communications, a smaller rival backed by cable mogul John Malone, which offered Time Warner $132.50 per share.
Comcast, with 21.7 million subscribers, is seeking to consolidate its power by buying its closest cable rival, with 11.6 million subscribers. The deal adds the prized Manhattan and Los Angeles markets to the Comcast empire now concentrated in the mid-Atlantic region.
If shareholders and regulators approve the deal, the combined cable giant would tower over its closest competitor, DirecTV, which has about 20 million video customers. Although the company would control 30 percent of the U.S. market, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Thursday rejected the idea that the merger would hurt competition or give his company too much power.
“We do not operate in any of the same ZIP codes,” he told security analysts Thursday in a conference call. “We believe this transaction is approvable. It is pro-consumer, pro-competitive and strongly in the public interest.”
But consumer advocates were mobilizing against the deal, which must be cleared by the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission. Craig Aaron, president of the media advocacy group Free Press, noted that the deal would give Comcast control of a third of the U.S. pay-TV market and more than half of the market for bundled video-voice-Internet services.
“In an already uncompetitive market with high prices that keep going up and up, a merger of the two biggest cable companies should be unthinkable,” Mr. Aaron said.
Mr. Roberts, who was credited for stealthily snatching Time Warner away from Charter and Mr. Malone, has been an outspoken advocate for consolidation in the cable industry. He said the deal will create a “world-class company” with the capability to grow, while generating $1.5 billion in operating efficiencies.
The move is a big defeat for Mr. Malone’s Liberty Media, which acquired a 27 percent stake in Charter Communications in the hopes of turning it into a “horizontal acquisition machine” to consolidate the cable industry and fight higher programming fees.
Mr. Malone has said the cable industry will have to scramble to fend off formidable competition from Netflix, Apple and Google, global megacorporations that are creating their own broadcast content and providing entertainment through online venues that threaten to render obsolete cable’s live-TV domain.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Employers add 175K in February; unemployment rose to 6.7 percent
- Chevron scores court win in $9B Ecuador rainforest case
- Moscow shakes up the financial world
- Siberian shale find fuels Russia's fracking future
- Comcast acquisition deal for Time Warner primed to transform the cable box
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- Golden Hammer: Feds spend millions to train executives train in luxury
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again