Report: Comcast considering Time Warner Cable bid? Update: Could be joint bid with Charter

Tom Paine

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CNBC cites sources suggesting that Comcast may be considering a bid for Time Warner Cable, the nation's second largest cable provider.

My first reaction is that while its not surprising that Comcast would look at all its options for maintaining its leadership position as the industry consolidates, I doubt it would be allowed to swallow the whole thing. (Although the FCC has tried to impose a ceiling on what share of subscribers any one operator could own, those have been struck down and no absolute limit currently exists.) But the federal government has numerous levers it can use to try to stop a deal,including the fact that Comcast is still operating under Justice/FCC review following approval of its NBCU acquisition.

On the other hand, Comcast could try to buy TWC and sell off a considerable portion of
its subscribers, or submit a joint bid with another party.

The CNBC report says Comcast is not talking directly with TWC, but rather is seeking advice on the regulatory hurdles such a bid would face. CNBC also says TWC, which faces the possibility of a bid from Charter Cable with backing by John Malone, has made it clear
that Comcast would be a preferred bidder.

One should not discount the fact that Comcast has fostered close ties with the Obama administration.

See my post from July, Will Comcast respond to Malone's cable acquisition ambitions?

Update: Latest Bloomberg story suggests Comcast and Charter may be discussing a joint bid
for TWC.

Two Maps That Explain Why Comcast May Want To Buy Time Warner Cable

Time Warner stock pops on bidding war report (USA Today)

Wall Street would cheer Time Warner Cable sale but media watchdogs worry (LA Times: Company Town)

Comcast eyes Time Warner Cable and unprecented market power (Fortune Tech)

Comcast's Brian Roberts and Liberty's John Malone have history (LA Times: Company Town)

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