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Comcast Deal Collapse Would Kill Other Mergers
World Economy

Comcast Deal Collapse Would Kill Other Mergers

The potential collapse of Comcast Corp.’s merger with Time Warner Cable Inc. wouldn’t just be a setback for those two companies. It would also unwind other pending deals and have a wide-reaching impact on the cable industry.
Staff attorneys at the Justice Department’s antitrust division are nearing a recommendation to block Comcast.’s plan to buy Time Warner Cable and combine the two largest US cable providers, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported.
A rejection would be a blow to Comcast, which would have to give up on valuable cable and broadband assets in major US cities including New York and Los Angeles. The $45.2 billion merger proposal is also a way for Philadelphia-based Comcast to fend off competition from phone companies, satellite providers and Web services like Netflix Inc. that have taken hundreds of thousands of its TV subscribers in recent years.
Another company has a lot at stake: Charter Communications Inc., the No. 4 in the industry. Charter, which counts billionaire John Malone as its largest investor, has agreed to take control of 3.9 million Comcast cable-TV customers to ease approval for the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. If that fails, Charter won’t get those customers. Another Charter deal, the recent agreement to purchase of Bright House Networks, would also be in jeopardy.
Charter, which lost out to Comcast a year ago in its effort to buy Time Warner Cable, could get another shot at it. Malone has said he would try again if the deal with Comcast fell apart.
A new attempt to buy Time Warner Cable could be a lot more expensive. Last year Charter and Time Warner Cable couldn’t agree on a price. Since Charter made an offer in January 2014, Time Warner Cable’s stock has risen 13 percent. This time around, Stamford, Connecticut-based Charter would need to pay $150 to $160 a share, much higher than its initial $132.50 bid, according to Amy Yong, a media analyst at Macquarie Capital USA Inc.

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