Comcast-Time Warner merger delayed due to regulatory review

Louisiana residents should be interested to know that one of the largest mergers to ever be executed has once again been pushed back. Initially the company had indicated that it was shooting for a completed merger by early 2015, but now expects the merger to go through by mid-2015.

The reason for the delay, according to Comcast's executive vice president, is that certain regulatory delays have forced the company to alter its timetable for completing the acquisition. One of those regulatory delays, though not the sole reason for the altered timetable, was a result of the Federal Communications Commission deciding to temporarily halt its review and thus the subsequent approval of the merger. Without the FCC officially signing off on the acquisition, the merger cannot be completed.

In any merger, there are many legal issues that need to be addressed. While larger mergers may involve regulatory bodies, even smaller companies will have numerous legal items to work through. However, often the bigger the companies, the more complex the process.

Since this merger involves uniting the two largest cable providers in the U.S., costing an estimated $45 billion to complete and creating a broadband access as well as pay television monolith, government regulators have placed the deal under an unprecedented amount of scrutiny. The FCC from its end has requested copious amounts of information from both merging companies as well as their direct competitors, the companies that will be most affected by the merger.

Given the size of the merging entities, the FCC's data request has resulted in a veritable tsunami of documents that literally constitutes millions of pages. Not only does the FCC have to ensure that the resultant entity will not unfairly hamper the livelihood of the rest of the competitors in the industry, but it must also determine whether approving the merger serves the public interest. If and when the FCC approves the merger the only other obstacle remaining would be acquiring the approval of the Justice Department.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Comcast Pushes Back Closing for Time Warner Cable Merger to Middle of 2015," Shalini Ramachandran, March 25, 2015

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