Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses The Almighty Buck

Comcast To Buy Time Warner Cable In $44.2 Billion All-Stock Deal 303

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-can-expect-payment-between-noon-and-4pm dept.
symbolset writes "CNBC and many others report Time Warner Cable has agreed to be acquired by Comcast for $44.2 billion. From the article: 'The agreement comes more than eight months after Charter Communictions and Liberty Media made their first foray to try and negotiate a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable (a story broken by CNBC) and follows months of conversations between Time Warner Cable and Comcast about the prospect of a Comcast acquisition of the company. '"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Comcast To Buy Time Warner Cable In $44.2 Billion All-Stock Deal

Comments Filter:
  • ogahdno (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    /nuffsaid

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tedgyz (515156)

      Agreed!

      I love my Time Warner service. Comcast will find a way to ruin it.

      • by ackthpt (218170)

        Agreed!

        I love my Time Warner service. Comcast will find a way to ruin it.

        At what point do we begin to want Government Interference?

        • Re:ogahdno (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Chas (5144) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:39AM (#46237733) Homepage Journal

          Agreed!

          I love my Time Warner service. Comcast will find a way to ruin it.

          At what point do we begin to want Government Interference?

          Right about now actually.

          There's the whole "localized monopoly" thing. But this beast is just about the sole provider for a huge swath of the US now, and people's ability to choose providers is in jeopardy.

          • Re:ogahdno (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Shadow99_1 (86250) <theshadow99@@@gmail...com> on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:50AM (#46237835)

            I've been all for the government to claim ownership of the physical aspect of these networks for years and then sell the physical service to ISPs for over a decade. The companies have proved time and again, regardless of massive subsidies, that they only care about milking users and not the experience of those users. Hence 1.5m/128k ADSL 'competing' with 10-25m/512k cable internet and 3G/4G capped wireless networks more recently.

            At least with the government doing it we could hold someone accountable, even if the the politicians only care at election time and would likely stick the blame on someone else...

            • Re:ogahdno (Score:5, Interesting)

              by jjeffries (17675) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:52AM (#46238369)

              Hence 1.5m/128k ADSL 'competing' with 10-25m/512k cable internet and 3G/4G capped wireless networks more recently.

              ADSL2+ will do near 30/3 on short loops (~1mi) and can be bonded. VSDL gets up into the hundreds of megabits. Mostly, ILECs just aren't interested/serious in competing, and would generally rather have bunches of unused, zero-revenue copper laying around than resell it to someone who *is* interested, because making no money at all is better than "helping" your competitor (who you aren't interested in competing with) by selling them something.

            • Re:ogahdno (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Timothy Hartman (2905293) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @11:59AM (#46238435)
              As good as that sounds, if the government owns the lines they'll start spying on people's communications. *ducks*
            • by Rolgar (556636)

              If they sell to the network, it will go to the highest bidder (through loans for decades into the future) , who will then HAVE to raise prices to buy the network.

              A much better solution is to give them to the people as a customer owned network, much like rural electric co-ops.

            • Local governments should own them, cities and special purpose districts within counties so that the local population can maintain accountability and direct influence over the operations. The municipal networks done so far have been a great success. While TWC et al will say that there is no way they can offer a gigabit internet service, Municipal governments have been doing it for years, because they dont have stock dividends and millions of dollars CEO salaries, to pay.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            What the fuck justice department? You sue over the US Airways/American Airlines merger, but they're just gonna fucking greenlight this one? Goddamn lobbyists! Fuck you, Comcast, fuck you!

          • by elrous0 (869638)

            They'll be able to bully Netflix and Google/YouTube right out of business. With that much power, who's going to stop them? It's sure not going to be Washington (from the CNN article [cnn.com]):

            Analysts also point out that Comcast is remarkably well connected in Washington. In fact, its chief lobbyist, David Cohen, was a guest at the White House state dinner for the French president on Tuesday night.

            • by Creepy (93888)

              My guess is they'll be prevented from buying further media - if they were also acquiring Time Warner media, I think all hell would break loose, but the cable and media parts were split. I really dislike that Comcast is allowed to own NBC and Universal, as it creates all kinds of ground for price gouging, but the US regulators are in the pockets of the corporations, so I only suspect this will get much, much worse before it gets better.

        • When our choices dwindle to none.
        • About 10 years ago.

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        I would not say I LOVE time warner, In fact I think they suck, But they are better than comcast, Im not happy about this at all, 1 less provider makes it easier for the government to collect said data
    • Re:ogahdno (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:19AM (#46237575)
      Finally, the great customer service of Comcast combines with the competitive pricing of Time Warner to create a single convenient entity to steer public policy with targeted campaign funding. Municipal broadband? Not on Timecast's watch.
    • by AJH16 (940784)

      All I can say is SHIT!!! Need FiOS available to my area NOW!!!

  • SEC block? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TrekkieGod (627867) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:11AM (#46237155) Homepage Journal

    In terms of competition, verizon buying time-warner is a much bigger deal than the blocked attempt of at&t buying t-mobile. This purchase can't possibly be allowed to proceed.

    • Re:SEC block? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TrekkieGod (627867) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:12AM (#46237163) Homepage Journal
      Comcast buying time-warner, I mean. Was thinking about cell phone companies and screwed up.
      • I wonder if the paid for politicians have the brass to break it up. If they can't common carrier status becomes imperative.

        Now let's suggest a proper Noun to name the new company, and a verb or noun to describe the service provided. Bonus points: company slogan

        example:

        ourcast, intranet, thank you for your patience, like you had a choice.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:28AM (#46237249)

      In terms of competition, [Comcast] buying time-warner is a much bigger deal than the blocked attempt of at&t buying t-mobile. This purchase can't possibly be allowed to proceed.

      The difference is that cellular is actually competitive, so a change in the market can reduce that competition and give consumers less choice. But in cable, there is usually only one company in any area. So there is no real competition. How much does does their cable coverage overlap?

      I have dealt with both companies (in different cities). On a scale of one to ten, I would give Comcast a one. I would give TWC a zero. So a Comcast takeover could be a win for consumers.

      • Re:SEC block? (Score:5, Informative)

        by aerivus (1658465) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:43AM (#46237333)
        Interactive HTML5 Coverage Maps:
        Comcast Coverage Map [broadbandmap.gov]
        Time Warner Cable Coverage Map [broadbandmap.gov]
        Buzzfeed has further analysis of the above maps [buzzfeed.com]
        • Wow, neither company has very good coverage on a national scale.
          Also, that may be the slowest interactive map I've ever used on the Internet. Our tax dollars at work, creating sub-par web experiences every day.
          • by PRMan (959735)
            That national split was forced upon TimeWarner when they bought Adelphia. They had to trade with Comcast to make the split more fair.
      • by ganjadude (952775)
        In NY Ive had both in a few towns separated by only a handful of miles apart. Id say that time warner is slightly better than comcast. When it comes to network speeds its better, the on demand/channel guide is 100 times better. I dont use their VOIP so I cant comment on that though.
      • by AJH16 (940784)

        I would have to say I'm firmly the opposite of this. My experience with TimeWarner for Internet access has been phenomenal. Decent speeds, no stupid caps and reasonable enough value. My friends with Comcast on the other hand are faced with bandwidth caps, stupidly overpriced prices and horrible support. As a very satisfied user of TimeWarner's Ultimate internet service, I'm quite honestly terrified of the implications of this take over. I would give TimeWarner cable a 7 or 8 when it comes to Internet a

      • by bigpat (158134)

        Funny, but I am guessing this will be pretty much how the Department of "Justice" determines how to rubber stamp this acquisition. They will probably just force the companies to divest in areas where they currently overlap in service.

        If I were the DoJ I would force Comcast to provide net neutral service in places where there is no equivalent or better competition. And put their pricing under ongoing review and demand prior authorization of pricing changes in areas where there is no competition. Otherwise

      • by whoever57 (658626)
        Maybe at the consumer level there is no competition, but the next time your city negotiates with companies to provide cable service, there will be fewer options.
    • by dptalia (804960)
      I agree. This has antitrust issues written all over it. I predict the Justice department and the FTC will oppose the merger.
      • Probably not since There will be no reduction in competition... Comcast and TW do not compete in very many areas.... thus the consolidation will (for the most part) neither increase or decrease competition. What it will do is give comcast for leverage when making deals with the content providers.
        • by dptalia (804960)
          There's more to antitrust law then where they compete. Market share is a big deal too. Justice usually jumps in around 30%.
          • by emaname (1014225)

            Exactly. It strikes me that market share equates to financial leverage. And the more they have, the more they'll want. They'll have a great deal more influence in the marketplace. And we'll still be a third-world country when it comes to internet service.

    • That's what I thought, until I remembered that nobody with TWC can switch to Comcast or vice-versa, at least without moving. There should be huge anti-competitive concerns - but there's no competition anyway so I guess it doesn't matter?

      • by whoever57 (658626)

        until I remembered that nobody with TWC can switch to Comcast or vice-versa, at least without moving.

        Not at the consumer level, but cities can switch.

    • by AJH16 (940784)

      Ironically, Verizon buying Time-Warner would be a good thing because FiOS and Time Warner combined would actually have a small prayer of giving Comcast a badly needed run for their money, instead I get to watch Internet options in my neighborhood vanish.

    • by thomst (1640045)

      TrekkieGod warned:

      In terms of competition, verizon buying time-warner is a much bigger deal than the blocked attempt of at&t buying t-mobile. This purchase can't possibly be allowed to proceed.

      I agree.

      An earlier version of the NYT story quoted Comcast's CEO as stating the combined company would only control 30% of the US pay TV market - a claim which purposefully conflates cable MSOs with SATELLITE TV providers. The difference (and it is crucial) between those two delivery models is that virtually every member of Comcast's customer base, and the 8 million net subscribers they expect to acquire from TW also depend on their cable operator as their broadband ISP, whereas almost NON

  • Antitrust lawsuit? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by randomErr (172078) <ervin.kosch@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:12AM (#46237157) Homepage Journal
    That two biggies merging. Will they be put under the scrutiny of an antitrust investigation? That will definitely eliminate choice in several areas. What the alternative, dial up or over the air broadcast?
    • by jonnythan (79727) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:14AM (#46237169) Homepage

      I don't think there area any areas where both TW and Comcast operate. So it won't change the number of choices for anyone.

      • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:23AM (#46237221)

        I don't think there area any areas where both TW and Comcast operate. So it won't change the number of choices for anyone.

        This is true.

        You will just replace one shitty company with an even shittier company.

      • by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:24AM (#46237227)

        Washington Post's article confirms that:

        "Comcast and Time Warner Cable don’t have overlapping markets, so antitrust regulators won’t view the merger with the same concerns they did with AT&T’s proposed bid with T-Mobile, experts say. That deal, which regulators rejected, would have eliminated a major national carrier and given consumers across the country fewer options."

        Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

        • by allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:36AM (#46237301)

          If these two cable providers don't have overlapping markets, it seems to me they were like a cartel to begin with, dividing the territory between them and entering a do-not-compete agreement, which should have already prompted an anti-trust case.

          • by arekin (2605525)
            Its not the companies that restrict area. An area cable franchise authority grants franchise rights in an area which limits a number of providers to a single area. This is probably a good idea as allowing every provider access to easement or run lines on poles would be a mess. You would also have to worry about planes dropping out of the sky or birth defects at some point due to the line egress.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              Actually this was done between 1996 and 2001 for telecom, as a result we saw huge boom in internet service providers, $/bandwidth, and overall service. Dubya killed that for us, how helpful. Since it was repealed, things have gone to pot, at least with twisted pair. It's a little harder for cable companies in terms of video service, but thanks to the internet that too is changing.

              What is truly the blocking issue here is that these people scream bloody murder if they're forced to compete.

          • It might have, but the cable companies have likely spent a lot of money on lobbyists to convince officials that there's nothing to look into.

            Lobbyists: The corporate version of the Jedi Mind Trick. "This isn't the cartel you are looking for. We can go about our business. We can move along."

          • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @12:27PM (#46238723) Homepage

            You are right, but with a caveat. But the reason they don't have overlapping markets is because the local governments give exclusive cable contracts. So it isn't that the companies were forming a cartel, it is that the governments were enforcing a cartel. The companies might have actually wanted to compete, and the government was forbidding it.

            • by jwhitener (198343)

              Somewhat true, except those contracts are a result of physical limitations that create an almost natural monopoly. (You can't run dozens of cable lines along the poles, it would be a mess).

              Now, if towns owned the cable infrastructure and other network devices involved, and just leased to Comcast / Whoever to act as an ISP, you could have competition. Remember back in the days when the internet only existed on the phone lines? Dozens of mom and pop ISPs in every town, competing on price and service, all sh

        • by bigpat (158134)
          Department of "Justice": Oh they were monopolies to begin with so who cares if they are just a bigger monopoly now!
      • But it will make it even harder to compete against an even more behemother company that can leverage now even more assets and power to crush little uprisings of entrepreneurial rebellion. Though I'm not sure there is any chance to begin with even without the merge.
      • by dptalia (804960)
        It's more than just area coverage. Antitrust law also looks at market share. If a merger will give you more than 30% of the nationwide market or so then Justice usually gets involved. If you get more than about 25% of a regional market states may get involved too.
      • by coastal984 (847795) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:22AM (#46237595) Journal
        No, it won't eliminate consumer choice because most often Cable companies have a government-authorized monopoly on a geographic area.

        What this will do is create a powerhouse negotiator with the content companies as they would represent about 1/3 of all cable households. Who really hates this deal is those content companies, and the satellite companies. If allowed, Comcast will have the power to negotiate substantially lower TV subscription costs than Direct/Dish, and take money out of the content producer/broadcasters coffers.

        The other side is internet... but I'm not sure that this is going to affect their DSL/FIOS competitors that much. Maybe I'm wrong on this, but I think this is likely a secondary concern that lags behind the concerns of the networks/sat providers.

      • Too big to fail comes to mind. No way Comcast should be allowed to expand. Comcast is already short of good content considering the high prices they charge.
      • Yes...Dallas Texas and NYC I know personally have them competing in a few areas. Julius heights and lake highlands in dallas, and Kiev nearly all of NYC.

    • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:24AM (#46237229)
      Comcast will just bribe the FCC again [nytimes.com]

      America was fun while it lasts, but if people can keep being bribed to do favors, corruption can inevitably kill a country. We have laws that you can't buy a vote. That seems noble. But the fact is that politicians can accept campaign contributions which is just a fancy word for a bribe. Who needs to buy votes when you can buy a politician?

      Again, I love America, but corruption unchecked can destroy any nation no matter how strong. And with campaign contributions running rampant, the game is rigged in favor of the corrupt.
    • Not mentioned in the summary but in the article is that the merged company will get rid of 3 million customers willingly. In articles not linked but other ones [forbes.com], the reason is that the merged company wants to keep their share of the market to less than 30%. As others will mention, there are few areas where they overlap. I remember there was a re-alignment a few years back when Comcast replaced Time Warner in some markets and vice versa but they did not compete against each other.
  • Remember kids (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:14AM (#46237171)
    We need to cap your internet usage and charge you usage fees as well as bandwidth fees because, oh god, it's so hard to make money in the telecommunication business we just can't seem to stop having enough money to buy each other out. By the way, we're going to increase your monthly flat rate bill a good 10% again this year because hey, those "Friends" reruns sure are getting expensive to er, broadcast.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:16AM (#46237187)

    Wow! With their improved economies of scale, my rates should drop, and I should get better service than ever!

  • by MCSEBear (907831) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:16AM (#46237195)
    Is there already a Whitehouse.gov petition asking Obama to oppose this? Since the cable companies seem to think they will get away with it, we need to act fast to shame Obama into stopping this.
    • by arekin (2605525) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:29AM (#46237261)
      This isn't antitrust. Most areas restrict cable franchising so you don't have multiple providers in an area. If Comcast were to buy WOW in areas they both exist (Such as Michigan, maybe available elsewhere) it would restrict competition. Since Comcast and Time Warner don't overlap there is not antitrust issue.
  • by jasper160 (2642717) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:16AM (#46237197)
    Equals a ISP landscape that will even more consumer unfriendly.
    • There's no overlap between TWC and Comcast, so the number of choices won't change for anyone. I have TWC and I'm worried that Comcast will change their policies. TWC's price is a little high, and their technicians have broken my stuff more often than fixed it, but it's gotten significantly more reliable in the last couple years and as long as my loop isn't saturated, they give me about 32Mbps when I pay for 10Mbps.

      • My parents have Comcast, I have TWC. Performance, reliability, and tech are all about the same - Comcast on demand and cable boxes are much better, but TWC's been working on that. I actually have had better luck with Comcast customer service than Time Warner, but that might just be a fluke.

        I don't expect anything to get worse, but it probably won't get any better either - certainly not the price.

    • Equals a ISP landscape that will even more consumer unfriendly.

      This merger doesn't reduce anyone's choice because there are very few (if any) areas where you currently have the option to choose one or the other. In the vast majority of areas you have exactly one choice for cable TV. If you are lucky, you might have 2 choices for Internet -- shitty expensive cable and shitty expensive DSL.

      Force the monopoly cable and telephone companies to open up their networks. Then you will have real competition which will result in real consumer choice. It will also mean the end

      • *raises hand*

        That's my options in a nutshell. For TV, I have Time Warner Cable or I can go with satellite (and be locked into a contract). Then again, we've been on the cusp of cutting the cord for years so this might be the move that pushes us over the edge.

        For Internet, however, we have Time Warner Cable. There's also Verizon DSL, but they have shown time and time again that they want to ditch it ASAP. Dial-up or no Internet isn't an option. Neither is relying solely on my cell phone for data (too ex

      • by bigpat (158134)

        Force the monopoly cable and telephone companies to open up their networks. Then you will have real competition which will result in real consumer choice. It will also mean the end of stupid shit like monthly bandwidth caps.

        Agreed. The DoJ should require that Comcast agrees to net neutrality for this to go through. But I think they also really need to divest NBC Universal and any other content business because even with net neutrality it is far too likely that they will grow their own content business at the expense of competition and at the expense of consumer choice.

  • Comcast have been rolling out IPv6, and I can now get all of Google/YouTube, Facebook, and Wikipedia. Slashdot is still only IPv4, of course.

    TWC's installed equipment may delay a roll out right now, but a long term commitment to IPv6 would be good.

  • This should not even be on the table. A nearly unrelated virtual monopoly, growing even larger.

  • As if Comcast being second most hated company (EA was first) wasn't bad enough, now the giant will have almost a monopoly on cable (if it is approved). Things will NOT get better with this merger, only worse since they will have almost no competition.
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @09:41AM (#46237325) Homepage

    Surely Time Warner understands by now that getting bought in an all stock deal is a stupid friggin' idea.

    Because when AOL bought them with over-inflated .com stocks, it was a terrible idea and ended up with a grossly over-valued company with few actual assets owning a company which had both revenues and assets.

    I predict that in the long run this will be a terrible idea for both consumers and stockholders.

  • One of the main factors that cause cable television bills to increase is Channel Providers raising costs on cable companies. ESPN has been notorious for raising rates over the years. If the cable company gets bigger it has better negotiating power to maintain current rates (what broadcaster is going to loose 3 million subscribers by pissing off the cable company in negotiations). I doubt that the current rates will decrease, but it could stabilize costs some. This is not to mention that Time Warner actu
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      One of the main factors that cause cable television bills to increase is Channel Providers raising costs on cable companies.

      And, of course, there's no chance in hell that this new entity will just decide to increase rates and win on both ends.

      I'm sure they'll be nothing but paragons of looking out for the consumer.

      Or, they'll gouge you on both ends and chalk it up to corporate profits.

      • At most, they'll drop rates by some token amount while the FCC is looking (perhaps making it up with a "Merger Service Fee" hidden in the bills). Then they'll have a rate hike (blaming some channel they have a tiff with) and will make up more than the token price drop.

    • by bigpat (158134)
      You are focusing on Comcast as a cable and Internet provider, but they themselves are content companies... Comcast owns NBC Universal and Time Warner does content also. These are vertically Integrated companies with a lot of local monopolies in the Cable and Internet businesses. If anything they will simply look to squeeze out the competition in the content areas. Already you are seeing the Cable and Satellite providers squeezing the content providers and cutting them out whenever they aren't getting a b
      • by bigpat (158134)

        Just to add... yes The Weather Channel is owned by Comcast which has in turn raised rates on DirecTV. So this is what is happening. ESPN is owned by Disney, but Comcast has its own Sports network. So there is a convoluted web of corporate interests here which is very likely to work itself out against the consumer interest

        If net neutrality isn't enforced on the Internet side and we don't see a greater portion of the network devoted to the Internet versus these non-Internet content subscription channels.

  • If this does go through and I have my doubts, I want the FCC NOT to force them into divestiture but offer higher speed Internet, ala carte pricing, sign off on Net Neutrality, and remove all bandwidth throttling and caps. The time is not to try and create competition, because there is none in cable, but to actually make a company perform like it is in a competitive environment.

  • by sudon't (580652) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @10:58AM (#46237905)

    Great! Now, instead of having one choice for high-speed (haha) internet, I'll only have one choice for high-speed (haha) internet.

  • I have TWC and have heard nothing positive about Comcast. When TWC bought AOL, it was the worst corporate merger ever in US history. Now they're selling out to the king of all assholes, Comcast? I can't wait for my prices to go up and my netflix to get throttled.
    • Yeah, throttling is my main concern. I had comcast before when I lived a short stint in Houston...no real problems personally but I always had the throttling and deep packet inspection in the back of my mind.

  • I hope Bright House is unaffected by this (as I understand it, they're a separate company from TWC at this point in my area, I think).

  • say good by to SD / HD channels on TWC to match Comcast non SDV setup

    ESPN Goal Line HD/ Buzzer Beater HD
    Some of multiplex hbo, show, max, stars, HD channels.
    premier league extra time HD as a real channels
    BTN alt HD
    EPIX
    and others

  • If this goes through, we will get a glimpse of what tier internet will look like.

    I know, I know, we have a good idea what tiered internet looks like, but this will give us some real concrete evidence.

  • They should have to divest NBC, Telemundo, Universal Pictures, and any other content and local stations. This company is getting a little too much of the distribution network for comfort. I'm a customer as they are the only practical option in my area (the only other being Frontier Communications with some relatively slow DSL) and they've largely behaved themselves but we separated content delivery and content generation for a reason.

  • It is not like there actually is competition.

    The US cable industry reminds me of the old joke about Soviet Russia television; Channel one has the official party line, while channel two has the KGB announcer telling you to turn back to channel one. The cable companies all treat customers like domesticated farm animals, you are either inside of one farmers fence or another's, you can only move from one pasture to another pasture with much paper work and time off from work, yet still you will eat the same gras
  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Thursday February 13, 2014 @04:31PM (#46240641)

    I suggest reading a book in protest. Voltaire anyone?

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

Working...