Comcast, the largest mass media and communications company in the world, will acquire Time Warner Cable in a $45.2 billion takeover per reports on Wednesday evening. After gobbling up Time Warner Cable, Comcast will loom even larger over all other media companies in the industry. Comcast will acquire 100% of Time Warner Cable’s 284.9 outstanding shares in what is described as a “friendly takeover.”
Although this merger will need to be approved by the shareholders of both companies along with regulators who will investigate whether this buyout would create a monopololistic corporation in the cable service provider industry. Of course Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts stated that he is confident that the deal will be okayed, and Comcast is planning to divest 3 million subsribers as part of the merger. It is unclear which markets would be sold off.
“Significantly, it will not reduce competition in any relevant market be because our companies do not overlap or compete with each other,” Roberts said. “In fact, we do not operate in any of the same zip code.”
Comcast would acquire about 8 million Time Warner Cable customers giving them a total of around 30 million customers. Comcast pointed out that the new customer base would be equal to less than 30% of the market share for pay television subscribers in the United States.
Time Warner Cable feels that the merger would benefit their customers and bring them higher quality television and faster internet speeds. Perhaps customer service would also be improved. As a long time Time Warner Cable customer (which had been previously Adelphia), I can attest to the lackluster customer service at times.
Comcast just completed a large acquisition of NBC Universal which took 13 months to be finalized after the regulatory review process. Perhaps a Dodger film produced by NBC Universal could spring forth once this merger goes through? Just a thought. Time Warner Cable spun off from Time Warner back in 2009, so it has no connection to Warner Bros. studios or television channels like CNN or HBO.
While Dodger fans already were bracing for an increase in their cable bill due to the television rights deal between Time Warner Cable and the Los Angeles Dodgers, now it is not unreasonable to think that one’s cable bill may also increase due to the merger. It seems like the cable bill is one which is always going up anyhow. Also, it already seems like there is little choice for consumers when choosing cable and internet service providers, so I don’t see this merger affecting either price or choice that much at least on an immediate level.
Of course with any changeover there are going to be hiccups, so customer service may even get worse before it gets better.
Comcast must have eyed Time Warner’s sports channels as a prime investment target especially with the brand new Dodgers channel SportsNet LA ready to roll out this month. How will this affect SportsNet LA’s launch? I don’t think it will delay or affect the Dodgers themed channel’s plans at all. SportsNet, Deportes, and SportsNet LA are all part of the purchase by Comcast. Although they may choose to brand the channels differently or change them slightly, they should remain intact.
SportsNet LA is priming for its debut on February 25th, and we have seen snippets of the new programming with Dodger themed sets and a whole new broadcast team already hard at work. With months of evaluation by regulators ahead for Comcast and Time Warner Cable, I don’t think there should be any setback when it comes to the new televison channel.
What could be affected is the negotiations between Time Warner Cable and the other service providers who have not yet agreed to distribute the new channel. We have heard rumors that negotiations are fluid, but there has yet to be any agreements between TWC and other cable providers like AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, Dish Network, Charter Communications, etc.
“We are in negotiations with DirecTV and other TV providers, but we don’t have a deal in place,” Dodgers executive vice president and chief marketing officer Lon Rosen said Thursday