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Charter, which has a large debt load, was unable or unwilling to boost its offer to Time Warner and played into Comcast’s hands. In its aggressive pursuit of Time Warner, Charter nominated a potential slate of directors for the cable company’s board this week in anticipation of a takeover.

The defeated suitor did not comment directly on the Comcast coup. In a statement Thursday, it said, “Charter has always maintained that our greatest opportunity to create value for our shareholders is by executing our current business plan, and we will continue to be disciplined in this and any other [merger and acquisition] activity we pursue.”

Although Mr. Roberts may steal Mr. Malone’s claim to be “King of Cable,” some analysts doubted that the merger would blunt the threats to the cable industry’s basic business model from Netflix and others.

“Consolidation of distribution doesn’t help the balance of power between content and distribution,” said MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson.

But Mr. Nathanson’s partner, Craig Moffett, noted the obvious boon for Comcast as it acquires the lucrative New York City market, the “crown jewel” of Time Warner’s empire.

“Only Comcast is positioned to think generationally about cable’s future. And New York City, the system we have always called TWC’s ‘Boardwalk,’ was the missing piece of the puzzle,” he said.

Regulatory approval of the deal is not seen as a slam-dunk, despite Mr. Roberts‘ confidence. The Obama administration has not been shy about challenging deals on antitrust grounds, forcing major changes in deals in the beer and the airline industries before giving its approval. The deal is also likely to be the subject of hearings on Capitol Hill.