Comcast Takes Time Warner Merger to Washington
Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) filed a merger application on Tuesday, and representatives from the firms will speak before the Senate Judiciary Committee as the companies seek approval from Washington to complete their proposed merger.
The proposed merger is controversial because it would result in the company controlling 19 out of 20 major U.S. markets and providing broadband to 40 percent of the high-speed Internet market, giving an unprecedented amount of power to one company. The companies argue that since cable markets don’t overlap, the merger is not anticompetitive, and they’re hoping to sway regulators with that argument as well.
Consumer rights groups and commentators on the telecom and media industries have said the merger will result in one entity retaining a huge amount of power in cable, broadband, and media content, as Comcast already owns NBC Universal. A long list of groups opposing the merger wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler, asking that the regulators not approve the merger.
“Comcast has repeatedly flexed its corporate and political muscles to get what it wants, even if that has meant harming competition, consumers and communities. … The Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger would give Comcast unthinkable gatekeeper power over our commercial, social, and civic lives. Everyone from the biggest business to the smallest startup, from elected officials to everyday people, would have to cross through Comcast’s gates,” the letter reads.