FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Friday said the government planned to block the $45 billion merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable because it would have posed “an unacceptable risk to competition and innovation, including to the ability of online video providers to reach and serve consumers."
Comcast Friday morning announced the deal was dead, citing government opposition as the reason.
Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable is far from a done deal. Bloomberg reported that staff attorneys at the Justice Department were leaning toward blocking the deal, and The Wall Street Journal this weekend followed up with a report that the two cablecos would meet with Justice Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to offer concessions that might make the deal more palatable.
It won’t be the first time Comcast has had to give to get.
Comcast will offer symmetrical 2 Gbps broadband service to 1.5 million customers in Atlanta next month, expanding to a total of 18 million homes across its footprint by year’s end. The uncapped – that’s right, uncapped – fiber-based service doubles 1 Gbps offerings from Google Fiber, AT&T, Cox and others.
A heads up to start ups, entrepreneurs and good ideas looking for funding: Comcast is making sure it doesn’t have all its eggs in one basket and says its investing $4 billion in a new strategic company being formed by its outgoing CFO, Michael Angelakis.
Angelakis will serve as the CEO of the new entity tasked with finding areas of growth and diversification for Comcast with a focus on investing in and operating growth-oriented companies, both domestically and internationally.
There may be more consolidation in the pay-TV space as Bloomberg today is reporting that Charter Communications has been talking with Bright House Networks about an acquisition for “at least a couple of months,” and likely is waiting to announce a deal until after regulators decide on Comcast’s $45 billion bid for Time warner Cable.
First, the bad news: There still is no long-term deal between CBS and Dish Network in their ongoing retransmission fee talks.
The good news, however, is that the two have agreed to a temporary extension of their exiting contract, the second such extension since the original contract expired Nov. 20.
The deal, announced Tuesday night, is only for five days – just enough to get them through the holiday weekend and back to the negotiating table.
Comcast today reported mixed Q3 earnings, exceeding Wall Street’s EPS targets by 2 cents, but missing revenue forecasts. The company said it lost just 81,000 cable TV customers, its best 3rd quarter subscriber results in seven years.
Comcast reported earnings of 75 cents per share, beating Wall Street estimates by 3 cents, and reported revenue of $16.84 billion, a 3.5% increase Y/Y, but nevertheless $150 million below expectations.
The cableco also reported it had lost 144,000 video customers in the second quarter, 11% better than a year ago, but the drop put an end to the short turnaround in customer erosion the company has seen over the past two quarter.
Winners and losers in the Comcast-Netflix peering deal? It’s hard to say, according to at least one analyst, but the deal to interconnect the two networks, announced Sunday, could lead to other media companies paying for faster speeds.
The two companies Sunday announced they “a mutually beneficial interconnection agreement” providing Comcast's U.S. broadband customers with a “high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come.”
Charter may not have been able to get the big subscriber gulp it hoped an acquisition of Time Warner Cable would have provided, but it’s likely to continue looking for smaller bites, analysts say.
Bloomberg is reporting that at least one analyst – CRT Capital Group - thinks Charter, which lost TWC to Comcast’s $45 billion bid, could next turn its attention to Cox Communications.
Cox is just a tad larger than Charter with 4.4 million subscribers and is privately held.
Comcast may have an acceptable offer on the table for Time Warner Cable, but the deal still has plenty of regulatory hurdles to clear and is likely to face tougher scrutiny from regulators than it did when it bought NBCUniversal in 2011.
Has the bleeding stopped for cable companies?
Comcast today said it added 43,000 video subscribers in Q4 2013, the first gain for the company after recording losses in 26 straight quarters.
The increase is more than double the adds analysts had expected and brings Comcast to 21.6 million video customers, the largest of any pay-TV provider in the U.S.