U.S. States to Help DOJ Assess Comcast's TWC Acquisition
March 19, 2014 12:35 PM
So far, Florida is the only confirmed state that is helping the DOJ
Comcast already has the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) judging its Time Warner Cable (TWC) acquisition, but it looks like some U.S. states will put the deal under a microscope as well.
, an unknown number of U.S. states have created an attorneys general group that will help the DOJ assess whether the Comcast-TWC merger complies with antitrust law.
So far, Florida is the only confirmed state that is helping the DOJ.
"We are part of a multistate group reviewing the proposed transaction along with the U.S. DOJ (Justice Department) Antitrust Division," said the Florida state attorney general's office.
The states are reportedly more interested in the broadband aspect of the deal rather than cable.
agreed to acquire TWC
in mid-February of this year for $45.2 billion USD. It's set to be an all-stock transaction, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014 (after approval by stockholders and regulators, of course).
But the acquisition has been met with strong criticism. Some worry that the merger will result in reduced competition, poor customer service, less innovation and higher prices for customers. These worries stem from analyst predictions that Comcast and TWC's combined company would control about one-third of the U.S. broadband market.
But TWC CEO Rob Marcus recently said that Comcast and TWC don't directly compete in any markets -- hence, competition would remain unchanged. He also defended the merger from accusations that customers would pay more in the end.
“I find that whole line to be totally ironic given the experience we’ve all had over the last dozen years, where (programming) costs have risen faster than the cost customers will bear," said Marcus.
He added that Comcast and TWC is a
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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