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.
I can’t imagine why anyone would take issue with a large conglomerate merging with one of its biggest competitors and forming a monopolistic behemoth that would strip tens of millions of customers of any alternative and give that company the ability to dictate terms for both content and its consumption. Seems harmless enough to me.
“There is no basis for a lawsuit to block the transaction,” said Sena Fitzmaurice, a Comcast spokeswoman. The merger “will result in significant consumer benefits — faster broadband speeds, access to a superior video experience, and more competition in business services resulting in billions of dollars of cost savings.”
And a $400 broadband bill that streams only programs produced by NBC Universal*:
Among regulators’ concerns is whether such a deal could choke new ways of delivering programming, according to one of the people. They have been focused on three areas: whether the combined entity would have too much control over nationwide broadband Internet delivery, whether a cable giant could use its financial influence to strike exclusive cable deals that could keep programming off of other platforms and whether it could limit how programming is delivered through video streaming services, the person said.
Poor Comcast. If this doesn’t go through,
they might not be able to afford that second tower they’ll still definitely be able to afford that second tower.
*To be fair, about half of the stuff I watch on regular TV is produced in one way, shape or form by Comcast-NBC.