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Comcast will announce a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal worth more than $44 billion that will unite the biggest and second largest cable television operators in the country, according to people briefed on the matter. .

The surprise merger — expected to be announced on Thursday — is likely to bring to an end a protracted takeover battle that a smaller cable rival, Charter Communications, has been waging for Time Warner Cable, and will be the second major deal for Comcast in recent years to radically reshape the American media landscape.

Time Warner Cable shareholders will receive 2.875 shares of newly issued Comcast common stock for each of their shares. Based on Comcast’s closing price of $55.24 on Wednesday, that values each Time Warner Cable share at about $158.82 each.

The combination of the two is certain to attract antitrust scrutiny by regulators.

David Faber of CNBC earlier reported the deal.

Charter, backed by John C. Malone’s Liberty had been courting Time Warner Cable for months.
Last month, Charter had offered to acquire the company for $132.50 a share — roughly around the market price of Time Warner Cable at the time.

The board of Time Warner Cable unanimously rejected that proposal, calling it “grossly inadequate.”

A deal by Comcast would come four years after the cable giant agreed to acquire NBC Universal from General Electric in a transaction that valued NBC Universal at $30 billion.

The Big Get Bigger, and consumers get the shaft.

Comcast is having one of those months.   First, between Comcast and Verizon, they manage to squish Net Neutrality.

Advocates of a free and open Internet could see this coming, but today's ruling from a Washington appeals court striking down the FCC's rules protecting the open net was worse than the most dire forecasts. It was "even more emphatic and disastrous than anyone expected," in the words of one veteran advocate for network neutrality.

The Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit thoroughly eviscerated the Federal Communications Commission's latest lame attempt to prevent Internet service providers from playing favorites among websites--awarding faster speeds to sites that pay a special fee, for example, or slowing or blocking sites and services that compete with favored affiliates.

Big cable operators like Comcast and telecommunications firms like Verizon, which brought the lawsuit on which the court ruled, will be free to pick winners and losers among websites and services. Their judgment will most likely be based on cold hard cash--Netflix wants to keep your Internet provider from slowing its data so its films look like hash? It will have to pay your provider the big bucks. But the governing factor need not be money. (Comcast remains committed to adhere to the net neutrality rules overturned today until January 2018, a condition placed on its 2011 merger with NBC Universal; after that, all bets are off.)

"AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast will be able to deliver some sites and services more quickly and reliably than others for any reason,"  telecommunications lawyer Marvin Ammori (he's the man quoted above) observed even before the ruling came down. "Whim. Envy. Ignorance. Competition. Vengeance. Whatever. Or, no reason at all."

And while consumers were worried about Comcast's ability to cast some vengeance after it successfully won it's argument, they weren't quite prepared for a Comcast that buys up Time Warner Cable, effectively bundling together then #1 and #2 providers in the country, providing service the vast majority of US broadband consumers.

As a Time Warner customer, let me say before they cut me off, and this may take me a bit...

8:53 PM PT:

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (43+ / 0-)

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 07:54:09 PM PST

  •  So, we're down to 4 cable companies now? (11+ / 0-)

    Time for a massive boycott.  Not at all hard to do for the tv part.  Or the phone part.

    The broadband is another story.

    Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

    by PsychoSavannah on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:06:07 PM PST

  •  Wow, the 1st Diary On This Already Disappeared (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, rubyr, Shockwave

    and I was the first commenter.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:06:27 PM PST

  •  charter (4+ / 0-)

    This is classic lipstick on a pig.  Before, it was Charter buying Time Warner Cable and selling off urban areas to Comcast--now it will be Comcast selling off suburban/rural areas to Charter.  Either way, cable companies will continue to have monopolies locally, but they will have more bargaining power with producers of content.  I wouldn't mind this if broadcasters/cable producers still needed federal licenses to guarantee fair/unbiased reporting.  Not going to happen--and Americans will get dumber after every news broadcast.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:10:21 PM PST

    •  Cut what? n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

      by rubyr on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:19:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cut the cord, like I did (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Trendar, Floande, rubyr, OldDragon

        Which refers to bailing on the oligopoly of cable or satellite providers for local internet and free over-the-air TV.

        For internet I use a locally owned provider who installed a fixed wireless dish ... I get 4MB speeds on par with any cable-based or DSL systems.  $50/month.

        For TV I use an antenna and get 36 over the air (OTA) channels, including all traditional networks (CBS, ABC, PBS, NBC, Fox) in HD plus some very interesting oldies TV and movies (MeTV and the this network).  $60 for the equipment,  $0/monthly.

        Use Netflix and sometimes Hulu streaming for everything else.  They are really easy to turn on and off.  Try that with cable.

        "And, once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

        by emobile on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:36:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very smart of you. I don't pay for cable, but do (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          for the Internet. I live in NYC and we can't have a dish
          on the roof. My Internet charge is $40.00 per month, so not bad.
          Oddly, in NYC, we have very few options for providers.  

          "Southern nights have you ever felt a southern night?" Allen Toussaint ~~Remember the Gulf of Mexico~~

          by rubyr on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:08:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I hear ya (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I lived in NYC a long time, was in an Astoria I didn't own so a dish wasn't an option.  (Live in breaking-badville, aka Abq, now.)

            Was with RCN a while but we had to switch to TimeWarner later.  I would feel dirty giving another dollar to Comcast, but I don't know what the alternatives are in the big city.

            "And, once again, the forces of niceness and goodness have triumphed over the forces of evil and rottenness." --Maxwell Smart

            by emobile on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 01:38:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  So glad i have Fios, will the FCC approve this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they did block AT&T's bid for T-Mobile so i have hope.

    •  I'm hardly an expert but that was my question (0+ / 0-)

      as well.  As a general rule (and someone more experienced than me can surely find some exceptions), in an already-consolidated industry, when the first and second companies want to combine (and here, where the third company is probably way far back on the list), it's going to get an enormous amount of scrutiny.

      There are ways to survive scrutiny - for instance, the US Airways/American Airlines merger survived by them giving up some market share in key markets where UA and AA were the primary service providers.  It's possible to imagine that something similar could happen here, but I haven't setup cable enough times to know - does each company have a monopoly in its own market?  Do people ever get to choose between Comcast or TW?  Or is it simply who runs the wires in your neighborhood?  And if the service is inherently a monopoly, a targeted selloff won't make it less of one.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 11:58:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Each Cable Company has the monopoly on cable (0+ / 0-)

        in this market. They usually divide the areas they serve. I don't know of anyone who had/has the choice of both TW and Comcast or more than one cable company anywhere.

        Comcast carries about 70B in debt. They will assume TWs debt. The shares are just for the company. They get the liabilities with the buyout.

        All of this is due to the inflated stock market. We saw a ton of M&A during the NASDAQ run up in the 90s with companies like Cisco and Microsoft buying companies with inflated stock.

        Nevertheless they will have a hell of a job maintaining servicing the debt of the two combined companies.

        “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

        by Dburn on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:49:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nationalize telecomm (13+ / 0-)

    You can only have gains from competition if there is, you know, competition. Telecomm just doesn't lend itself to competition. The sector has always been oligopolistic.

    Because telecomm is a natural monopoly and because it is part of the "commanding heights"of the economy that underlie the functioning of all other industries, it should be nationalized.

    In light of this decision, I highly recommend watching Bill Moyers's interview with Susan Crawford of Demos:

    •  Thanks for that link. I saw it last year but it (4+ / 0-)

      has suddenly become more important.

      Susan Crawford also has a blog and now would be a good time to watch it daily:

      I agree. The internet should be nationalized. Perhaps one of those emerging nations like Korea could teach us how to use what we invented.

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:42:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps 'bypass' is the better word. (0+ / 0-)

      Perhaps the better solution is to work further on open-source peer-to-peer wireless mesh networks using inexpensive commodity hardware. And subsequently bypass Corporate Internet as much as possible?

      "If you are still playing for Team Republican and want to have any honor whatsoever, you need to leave the Republican Party now, apologize to America, and work to remove it from our political system." - Brad DeLong

      by radabush on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:40:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  anti trust scrutiny HA HA HA HAaaaa (7+ / 0-)

    comcast! the death star! only MORE so!  aaaaugh...
    well. shit.
    no body coulda forseen...

  •  I don't suppose that (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, Evil Betty, ororis, JeffW, aznavy

    this will mean my pathetically slow download speeds from Time-Warner, for which I pay in excess of $60 monthly, will get any better than 15 or 16 mbps?

    Didn't think so.

    If you want fast download speeds, you gotta go to some place like Singapore.

    Great Questions of Western Philosophy: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

    by Mnemosyne on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:32:38 PM PST

    •  Comcast actually has very fast speed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Just Bob

      If you upgrade to its blast service. (Of course, it costs extra).

      I welcome you to the Dark Side, where wait times are long, phone calls are dropped, service requests are ignored, where customer service reps will blatently lie to you, and bills are exhorbitant.

      Oh, and security was breached this week with no notice to customers:

      During that 24 hours, Comcast stayed silent, and the veritable "keys to the kingdom" sat out in the open internet, ripe for the taking by any malicious entity with a little know-how around mail servers and selling or exploiting customer data.

      Comcast customers have not been not told to reset their passwords. But they should.

      Great Internet, cable almost never goes down, OnDemand is great. Service absolutely sucks.

      Welcome to Comcast.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:56:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why can't we stop (6+ / 0-)


    When are we going to face up to the fact that these mergers don't benefit anyone but the lawyers/accountants?

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:39:38 PM PST

    •  B/C President golfs w/ Comcast CEO (5+ / 0-)

      And Brian Robers hosts the President on Martha's Vineyard.

      But you're right, it shouldn't be approved.

      In Europe, both cable and telecom co's have much lower EBITDA margins.

      And that's because there's more competition.

      Comcast's EBITDA margin is 33%.  That's HUGE.

      And a couple of quarters ago, Verizon's Cellular division reported an EBITDA margin of 51%.


      Not even newspapers in their heyday printed that much cash.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:28:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it has more to do with not cutting (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Just Bob, radabush, PatriciaVa

        premium cable tv out of our media-saturated diet. Five (free) local stations and a couple of public outlets was more than enough to promote TV overload at the peak of TV viewership in the late 60s and 70s.

        Now we have fifty times that, and yet viewership is crashing and people are paying through the nose. If 20 percent of cable customers gave up their premium and went back to the old 7-10 channel standard offering (cutting their bills from $60 to $15/mo more or less), a full-blown crisis would erupt at Comcast.

        Sounds like fun to me!

        "And now we know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob." -- FDR

        by Mogolori on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 10:05:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It does benefit someone ... (0+ / 0-)

      The giant fiery lidless eye of Sauron, which can be found burning in all its inherent evil atop the Comcast tower in Philadelphia.

      Stupid Quaternary Period!

      by obatanga night on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:45:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is why we can't have nice things. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, JeffW, grover, rovertheoctopus

    If you say "gullible" real slow, it sounds like "green beans."

    by weatherdude on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:42:27 PM PST

  •  If the SEC doesn't kill this, it's over. (5+ / 0-)

    Corporate power will be solidified for all time if the SEC doesn not kill this deal.

    Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

    by Walt starr on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:46:25 PM PST

  •  Free Market - Competition (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, JeffW, cotterperson, LynChi

    Except Monopoly. is the name of the game!

    The Oligarchs make the rules and then they spout their nonsense.

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 08:49:58 PM PST

  •  holding americans hostage (6+ / 0-)

    this is just another example of how corporations are holding american consumers hostage.  soon consumers will have a choice between company A or company A.  your choices will be reduced to zero and you will pay more as if you were not paying enough now.  but really, even today  there is little difference between any of the providers because the same rats have been building tunnels from one provider to the next.  they are all from the same colony of rats who are making sure they never run out of cheese.  they have rigged the courts and government agencies with rats from the same colony to make sure everything goes their way.  get the picture now.

  •  Thanks for posting this story (5+ / 0-)

    Our fellow citizens need to start paying attention to this issue; so thank you for getting this in front of folks.  The more stories people see about media consolidation and the loss of net neutrality, the better.  And while most kossacks are very familiar with the issue, the folks who see these diaries when they're shared on facebook and twitter, or who just drop by from time to time and glance through the rec list, will benefit.

    Love one another

    by davehouck on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:07:59 PM PST

  •  I'm not what they are looking for... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... so Comcast told me when I applied for an entry-level call center job. No interview, no calls to my references. Instead they had me take an online evaluation full of BS questions like: "Do you prefer a competitive workplace environment or do you prefer being part of a team?" and "I stand up for the things I believe in (T or F)." or "Sometimes I have trouble getting started in the morning (T or F)."

    After a while you get so confused wondering what they looking for and struggling between what you think they want and what seems like a more honest answer (Doesn't everyone have a rough morning from time to time?) your head starts to ache...

    Everything Right is Wrong Again - TMBG (lyrics)

    by GreenPA on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:23:22 PM PST

  •  The problem is, this won't have much of an effect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob

    Sadly, this won't have much of an effect, because effectively everyone has access to one cable company, anyways.  They're not actually competitors with each other.

    Of course, I'm stuck on TWC right now, and even though I'm moving, it looks like it'll be TWC again.  Our new building (like our old one) isn't wired for FIOS, so to get any sort of decent internet, it's TWC or no one- DSL doesn't count at this point.

  •  And just last night, Obama had Comcast's head (4+ / 0-)

    lobbyist (David Cohen) over for a state dinner.

    Smooth sailing for the uber-monopoly.

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:41:18 PM PST

  •  So we need another FDR and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the equivalent of the Rural Electrification Administration.

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:58:49 PM PST

  •  So I guess we just don't give a shit about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    monopolies anymore, huh?

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 09:59:11 PM PST

    •  That remains to be seen. The deal is expected (0+ / 0-)

      to close by the end of the year...or not.

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 10:24:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seriously: how is this legal? (0+ / 0-)

      How can the government possibly let this go through? Isn't this an obvious antitrust enforcement opportunity?

      In any event, I always liked DirecTV better, anyways.

      But none of the companies is really innocent.  If they played honest ball, Tivo would stand a fighting chance...

  •  Oh, to long for the days we broke up (0+ / 0-)

    big, bad monopolies.

    "Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change." Muhammad Ali

    by blueoregon on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 10:47:45 PM PST

  •  This should actually lower cable (0+ / 0-)

    bills. That's a big motivation behind the mergers going on. Why?

    Because cable operators must negotiate with each provider of content. If ESPN demands $5 a month per subscriber, and your cable company agrees to it, that $5 is now part of your bill. Those provider fees, especially or the sports channels, add up, and the cable companies know that cable is getting too expensive. They're losing customerd.

    So they're merging. This way they should regain the negotiating power over the ESPNs of the world. If Comcast/Warner is so big that the providers would suffer greatly if not on their lineup, theyll be able to negotiate down those provider fees. Ideally for them, cable bills go down but profits go up and the trend of losing subscribers stops or slows down.

  •  Fan-fucking-tastic. As crappy as my cable was (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was always saying to myself, 'It could be worse, I could be a comcast customer'.  And now I will be. Joy.

  •  Sent an email, (0+ / 0-)

      To the FCC, link in another diary.
       "The problem with monopolies is innovation stops or slows down to a crawl."

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:08:27 AM PST

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