Formal announcement ending $45bn deal

Comcast set to drop mega-merger with TWC

GMT 06:40 2015 Friday ,24 April

Arab Today, arab today Comcast set to drop mega-merger with TWC

Comcast and TWC argue the abandoned mega-merger
Washington - Arab Today

US cable giant Comcast is preparing to abandon its plan for a mega-merger with rival Time Warner Cable in the face of opposition from antitrust regulators, a report said Thursday.

Bloomberg News, citing unnamed sources, said a formal announcement ending the $45 billion deal could come on Friday.

The two companies did not comment on the report.

An industry source told AFP that Comcast has confirmed the end of the plan to industry leaders. The New York Times also reported that the deal had been killed.

The news comes amid heightened scrutiny over the deal, which would boost the dominance of Comcast as a broadband and cable television provider in the US market.

A number of consumer groups have also opposed the deal saying it would give too much market power to a single conglomerate.

Comcast and TWC -- spun off in 2009 from media giant Time Warner -- had argued the deal would not hamper competition because their territories have little overlap. They also said cable was getting increasing competition from video streaming services Netflix and Amazon, among others.

If allowed to proceed, the deal would give the combined firm more than 30 million customers over a large swath of the United States.

It would also give Comcast a unique position because of its ownership of NBCUniversal -- which includes the NBC television network and other channels. Comcast's role as network owner and television provider could create conflict with other carriers.

According to an industry source who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, Comcast had meetings Wednesday with officials from the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission who indicated they would seek to block the transaction.

Media reports said staff at the FCC had called for a hearing on the merger, creating a new obstacle to the deal announced in February 2014.

Although there was no official word on the end of the deal, critics welcomed the news.

The end of the plan "would be spectacularly good news for consumers concerned about the spiraling cost of cable and broadband and for millions of citizens who want nothing more to do with gatekeeping and consolidation in the communications ecosystem on which our democracy depends," said Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner who advises the consumer group Common Cause.

Delara Derakhshani at Consumers Union said the deal should not be allowed, arguing that "the size and influence of Comcast would be so huge that no amount of promises or commitments could outweigh the harm to consumers."

She added that the merger "would give Comcast more control than ever before over what we see on TV and online, and how much we pay for it."
Source: AFP

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