With Comcast, broadcasters have been dealing with a cable operator that has been more willing than most to meet their demands for retransmission consent fees and a broadcast network (NBC) that has been less aggressive in its reverse comp demands.With the merger now undone, Comcast will be free of conditiions governing its relations with affiliates in 2018 rather than 2024 and Time Warner will be cut loose to resume its confrontational retrans negotiating tactics and its assault on broadcasters’ retrans rights.
Comcast Corp. this morning issued a statement that its merger with Time Warner Cable has been terminated. Chairman-CEO Brian L. 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.”
Despite reports Thursday that Comcast is planning to drop its bid, cable companies are likely to keep merging as online video options proliferate, the number of cable and satellite TV subscribers slips and costs rise for the shows, sports and movies piped to subscribers.
Brian Nichols: “I’ve gone from two very different ends of the spectrum with Comcast over the last couple weeks, but one thing has remained consistent and that’s my belief that the acquisition of Time Warner Cable doesn’t really matter anymore. In essence, there’s just no need to spend the money and resources fighting regulators and lawyers on the deal; Comcast is better by itself.”
Comcast’s record of compliance is now in the spotlight as regulators, and senators like Al Franken, scrutinize its proposed $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable. The Justice Department is evaluating whether the merger is anticompetitive and is scheduled to meet with Comcast today to discuss it. The FCC is considering whether the deal is in the public interest, and regulators in New York and California are also examining it.
Comcast Corp.’s turbulent bid to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. shifts into high gear this week, some 14 months after the blockbuster $45-billion deal was unveiled.
Staff attorneys at the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division are nearing a recommendation to block Comcast Corp.’s bid to buy Time Warner Cable Inc., according to people familiar with the matter. Attorneys who are investigating Comcast’s $45.2 billion proposal to create a nationwide cable giant are leaning against the merger out of concern that consumers would be harmed and could submit their review as soon as next week, said the people. The division’s senior officials will then decide whether to file a federal lawsuit seeking to block the tie-up.
The request comes from 40 organizations including the LPTV Spectrum Rights Coalition. The letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says “the only way to protect [a] competitive future now is to reject the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger outright — no conditions, no side deals — no merger, period.”
Comcast said in a blog post Wednesday that it now expects the FCC’s review to finish in the middle of the year. It had predicted the deal would close in early 2015. The FCC has delayed its review due to a court case that is pending.
The FCC on Friday officially stopped its so-called “shot clock” on its reviews of Comcast’s proposed $45-billion takeover of Time Warner Cable, as well as the agency’s separate review of AT&T’s bid to take over DirecTV. Both were scheduled to expire in late March.
Television entrepreneur Byron Allen has filed a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against cable giants Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable. The lawsuit, filed in a Los Angeles federal court, contends that Allen’s Entertainment Studios has been thwarted in his attempts to secure distribution for its small networks with the cable operators.
Comcast Corp.’s bold move to buy rival Time Warner Cable in a $45-billion deal once seemed inevitable. But that was 11 months ago — and a lot has changed. Now, it is unclear whether the U.S. Department of Justice and the FCC will give Comcast their blessing.
An announcement that the state Public Service Commission had again delayed a vote on the $45 billion Time Warner Cable-Comcast merger doesn’t actually mean that the merger is in trouble in New York. Most likely it means Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “working to line up concessions from the two cable giants in exchange for state approval of the merger by an agency whose chairwoman the governor appointed.” Cuomo announced in October a $500 million plan to increase Internet speed and access throughout New York.
The station groups agree not to fight the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger with a series of conditions that would bar Comcast from discriminating in favor of NBCU-owned or operated stations over retransmission consent — and other issues — for 10 years after the TWC deal closes.
Opponents of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger are prepping for the next round of verbal brawling on Tuesday, the FCC’s deadline for more comments regarding the pros and cons of the $45 billion deal. Separately, the FCC on Monday implemented another delay of the time clock governing the schedule of its review.
Comcast is tired of Netflix, that’s for sure. The cable giant had to answer a number of difficult questions from the FCC last week after Netflix objected in the strongest possible terms to a pending merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The cable giant’s answers are now redacted and available for all to see. And one of the most talked-about entities is Netflix: Its name comes up some 179 times over the course of the document, including in the footnotes.
A clutch of public interest groups, unions and media companies including Dish Network and Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze have formed the “Stop Mega Comcast” coalition to advocate against federal approval of the $45 billion cable merger.
The trade group filed a motion to intervene Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding broadcasters’ petition seeking to block the FCC from forcing the disclosure of “highly confidential broadcaster distribution agreements and related negotiation strategies.” ACA argues for third-party acces to such documents.
Comcast still expects to close the deal with New York-based Time Warner Cable by the end of March, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said. If the acquisition is approved, Comcast will have more than 32 million Internet service subscribers. As part of its commitment to getting the Time Warner deal done, Roberts said Comcast still intends to spend about $20 billion during the next two years to improve its Internet service and other products.
Companies including Walt Disney, CBS and Viacom have asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to step in and block an FCC decision that would forcethem to reveal the terms of their business deals. Those deals are part of the public review of Comcast’s $45 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable and AT&T’s $48 billion plan to buy DirecTV.
The FCC has delayed its review of Comcast’s proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable — which, if approved, would greatly increase Comcast’s broadband footprint. The FCC is also suspending its review of AT&T’s proposed merger with DirecTV. The agency said it suspended the informal 180-day countdown clocks because nine content companies — including CBS, Fox, Time Warner and Disney — refused to disclose key information about their deals with cable providers.
In a public letter to Comcast and Time Warner Cable executives, the FCC announced that it is hitting the pause button on its review of the proposed $45 billion merger. Citing inadequate responses by both cable companies to earlier FCC requests for additional information, the agency is stopping the clock on its 180-day review period until late October.
Sen. Dean Heller (R., Nev.) in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler requested information regarding any confidential meetings the agency has had with media companies as part of its regulatory review of proposed acquisitions of pay-television companies Time Warner Cable by Comcast Corp. and DirecTV by AT&T, The Wall Street Journal reports. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.
As the merger review process inches along at the FCC, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have set October dates for their respective shareholder votes on their blockbuster $45.2 billion union.
The broadcaster tells the FCC that it should condidition approval of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger on requiring equal retrans terms and agreeing to binding arbitration to settle disputes. It also wants Comcast’s NBC to be capped at asking for no more than 50% of station retrans revenue for reverse comp.
Comcast Corp. says it now expects its planned $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable to be completed early next year. The expected timing is due to Comcast’s current expectations about regulatory approvals, the Philadelphia-based company said in a filing. Comcast previously said that the transaction may be completed by the end of 2014.
The commission has asked Comcast Corp. to explain its Internet and content policies as part of the review of the company’s $45.2 billion bid to acquire Time Warner Cable. The FCC asked Comcast to provide information on a range of its business practices, from programming agreements with sports leagues to Internet traffic management and data caps imposed on customers.
A fee dispute between Time Warner Cable and its competitors that has left Los Angeles Dodgers games blacked out for most fans is threatening to undermine the merger of the nation’s two largest cable television companies.
With the clock ticking on the government’s review of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, Comcast execs met with regulators this week to bolster the cable giant’s case for the $45 billion mega-merger.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable are sponsoring a dinner honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at a time when the agency is weighing whether to approve a multibillion-dollar merger between the two companies. Comcast will pay $110,000 to be a top-level “presenting sponsor” at the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual dinner in September, at which Clyburn is receiving the “diversity advocate” award, according to a foundation spokeswoman.
Walt Disney Co., Discovery Communications and CBS Corp. are being asked for information by U.S. antitrust officials probing Comcast Corp.’s planned purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc., according to three people familiar with the matter.
The FCC has released its schedule for the public and the media industry to weigh in on Comcast’s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable and its complex deal to trade some cable systems with Charter Communications. Comments and petitions seeking to block Comcast’s deals are due on Aug. 25. Comcast will then have until Sept. 23 to respond to those comments. Subsequent replies to Comcast’s response are due on Oct. 8.
Comcast needs no introduction to the economist whom the FCC tapped Monday to help regulators sort through the cable giant’s plan to buy Time Warner Cable, and AT&T’s for DirecTV: Former FCC Chief Economist William Rogerson, now a professor at Northwestern University, was an important opponent of Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal.
The paper’s editorial board opposed Comcast’s $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable today, saying regulators should block Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable because it would control too much of what consumers watch, read and listen to.
Comcast is pulling out all the stops in trying to win approval of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable by fielding one of the biggest lobbying teams ever seen in Washington. The company has added seven lobbying firms to its roster since first proposing the deal earlier this year, and it is adopting a posture of overwhelming force to try to win approval from federal regulators.
“The antitrust regulators might be thinking about Comcast-Time Warner Cable becoming a Goliath with lots of small Davids,” said Amanda Wait, a former antitrust attorney with the Federal Trade Commission and partner at Hunton & WiIliams LLP in New York. “What the AT&T deal does — if it gets approved — is it creates another strong competitor that looks more like a Goliath than a David. It levels the playing field a little bit,” she said.
The Univision CEO says: “Based on what I have seen and heard, I am still concerned that the proposed merger could be bad for competition and most importantly, bad for Hispanic audiences.”