Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc. will meet the Department of Justice on Wednesday to talk about competition concerns of their $45.2 billion merger. It will be the first time since the deal was declared that the two companies will come face-to-face to discuss possible concessions regarding the concerns.
According to the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), merging the two companies will hand them too much power in the broadband Internet market and give them an unfair advantage over other TV channel owners and companies providing video programming online.
As reported by Reuters, the meeting between the two companies and Justice Department came after a report by Bloomberg revealed that the antitrust division was against the merger deal. The report raised concerns for customers and said that a decision would be made following a review by the Justice Department that could be handed next week.
However, a Time Warner Cable spokesman said regarding the Bloomberg report, “We’ve had no indication from the DoJ that this is true.
“We have been working productively with both DoJ and FCC and believe that there is no basis for DoJ to block the deal.”
Comcast, which serves 20 million homes in the United States, is the largest cable company – followed by Time Warner Cable – in the country, as per CNN.
With the merger of the two companies, they will possess 30% of the pay-TV and 57% of the broadband service markets, respectively, according to The Wall Street Journal. Since the demographics of the market share of the companies don’t coincide, the merger will not reduce consumer choice. However, the escalated market share in broadband Internet has been subjected to examination.
According to LA Times, Comcast said it will work to expand its network and provide internet services to communities that lack broadband. In addition, the company also proposed an Internet Essentials program – a $9.95-a-month service – for low-income families and students for the first five years following the merger.
Bryan Byrd, Comcast’s spokesman, said, “We appreciate the level of interest people have in this important decision.
“We heard a resounding call for Internet Essentials in Southern California and are ready to bring this successful program to region’s students in time for the 2015-2016 school year.”
On Friday, Time Warner Cable shares closed at $149.61 – going down 5.4 percent – on the New York Stock Exchange, while Comcast shares dropped by 2.1 percent and closed at $58.42 on NASDAQ.
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