Plans for a $42.5 billion merger that would have created a mammoth Internet and cable giant out of Comcast and Time Warner Cable have been dropped.
The Comcast takeover of TWC, which critics argued would flirt dangerously with creating a monopoly that would stifle consumer choice, had faced a rising tide of opposition from lawmakers and federal regulators, who would have needed to approve the deal.
“Today, we move on,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said Friday in a written statement. “Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away.”
If the deal between the two largest U.S. cable providers had been approved, the resulting company would have controlled almost 60% of the broadband market in the United States and about 30% of the nation’s pay television.
As word that the deal was unraveling began leaking Thursday, opponents were quick to celebrate the news.
“I’ve been opposed to this deal since it was first announced, and I’m glad that over the last 15 months, more and more people have come to see it the way I do,” said U.S. Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, in a written statement. “This transaction would create a telecom behemoth that would lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and even worse service. We need more competition in this space, not less. If reports of the collapse of the deal are true, it would be a huge victory for American consumers.”
Franken and other critics were afraid that the clout a combined Comcast and Time Warner Cable would have wielded would have led to higher prices and worse service for customers who, in many cases, would have had fewer and fewer options.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable (which became independent from parent company Time Warner in 2009) already were ranked as the two “most hated” companies in the United States, according to the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Roberts maintained that Comcast still has “strong momentum.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of this company and I am truly excited for what’s next,” he said.
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