In February 2014, Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced a $45.2 billion merger and at one point the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger seemed unstoppable. As late as February 24, 2015, Comcast executives were publicly confident in the anticipated FCC approval. Now the deal is dead.
What killed the deal? Overwhelming opposition killed it. According to Michigan University’s 2014 American Consumer Satisfaction Index of 230 companies, Time Warner Cable was the most hated company in America, closely followed by…you guessed it…Comcast.
Comcast tried to convince the public that the merger would be good for them, making 5 promises:
– The merged companies would improve customer service;
– They would help poor and rural communities;
– They would not restrict access to programs they control
– They would provide a wealth of sports programming for local fans;
– The merger would not – could not – hurt competition.
Nobody believed it. In fact, consumers wondered if the combination of Most Hated #1 with Most Hated #2 would create something merely just as bad, or twice as bad or even worse!
Those concerns and others were voiced by “your average person,” bloggers, business analysts, consumer advocates and U. S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey, Ron Wyden and Bernard Sanders. The Senators wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder to stop the merger.
After reviewing the proposed merger, Justice Department lawyers stated that the merger would not help consumers and the FCC stated that it was leaning against the merger.
Comcast scrapped the merger.
What next? Comcast announced that the merger was structured so Comcast could walk away if it the merger failed and Time Warner Cable might be acquired by Charter Communications, which already made one failed attempt to acquire TWC in 2014.
Meanwhile, consumers seem relieved that Comcast and Time Warner Cable did not spawn The Cable Monster.
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