Commentary

What If Comcast-Time Warner Cable Deal Gets The Ax?

Pressure is seemingly building against Comcast’s $45 billion effort to buy Time Warner Cable -- from a group of U.S. senators who are opposed to the deal, as well as the Justice Department, which is planning to give the merger its thumbs down.

Opponents see much of the problem in the combined broadband service dominance the two companies will have -- around 60% according to estimates.The combined companies will have a 30% share of the traditional cable TV marketplace.

Pro-cable media executive such as John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media, have long complained big cable companies should have been starting up new digital TV content services like Netflix. Malone has said this could happen if top cable TV providers merge. He tried to push for a Time Warner Cable-Charter Communications merger a while back; Liberty Media is a significant investor in Charter.

Still others believe Comcast will find a way to make the deal happen. Agreeing to take over NBCUniversal, Comcast made concessions -- giving up a management role in Hulu for seven years in return for getting to keep its one-third share in the premium digital video site.

Would Comcast need to make other concessions for the acquisition? Perhaps agreeing to sell off a piece of Time Warner Cable to lower the overall broadband share of business? Or giving up a management role in some other Time Warner Cable business -- or perhaps an existing Comcast service?

Still, the fight isn’t over yet.

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