Comcast plans merger with Time Warner Cable

Comcast plans merger with Time Warner Cable

Comcast on Thursday confirmed plans to acquire Time Warner Cable in a stock deal valued at $45.2 billion. The deal has already been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Pending regulatory approval, the merger would happen by the end of the year. Comcast:

The agreement is a friendly, stock-for-stock transaction in which Comcast will acquire 100 percent of Time Warner Cable’s 284.9 million shares outstanding for shares of CMCSA amounting to approximately $45.2 billion in equity value.

Comcast and Time Warner are already the top two cable companies in the US, and combined they'll have a total customer base of more than 30 million, after Comcast sloughs off about 3 million customers to other competitors. The company isn't expecting a regulatory hurdle - it points out in its press release that its total number of subscribers in the US after the merger will be about the same percentage as it was after Comcast acquired AT&T Broadband in 2002 and Adelphia in 2006.

Are you a Time Warner Cable or Comcast subscriber? What do you think of this planned merger - will this be good for customers or bad? Sound off in the comments.

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Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Comcast plans merger with Time Warner Cable

22 Comments

I am a Comcast subscriber. Personally I feel like TWC has a much more forward-thinking way of thinking than Comcast and hope that this wears off on Comcast. If not I feel like TWC customers will be worse off than they were before as far as access to services on multiple devices etc.

Side Note: Will be interesting to see what happens with Apple's attempts to set up their deals as I feel that Comcast may be harder to get on board than TWC.

Was a lifelong Comcast customer (I'm 40) until about 2 weeks ago. While I've never had a problem with their product (TV and internet) dealing with their customer service via chat or phone would always want to make me bang my head into a bloody pulp. Literally. Finally had enough and cancelled about 2 weeks ago. Switched to DirecTV and so far I'm very happy (not to mention saving almost $1,000 over 2 years). Still have Comcast for internet but I'll be dropping them later this summer once a local company throws the switch on the fiber they've been putting in.

dealing with their customer service via chat or phone would always want to make me bang my head into a bloody pulp

Me too. I have, however, discovered that their tech support through social media like Twitter is generally outstanding. If they can't solve the problem they'll escalate it beyond the front-line folks that make us all want to kill people.

You too. I tried to pay my bill to miss computer. She told me my credit card expire date of 19 was in the past. How do you tell a computer there were no credit cards in 1919? 19 means 2019. Finally got a human(I think) and they did not know what to do. I said I just want to pay the bill. They took my info, and it took five days to show up on my bank account. Time to buy an HDMI TV and wait for the new Apple TV, and cut that comcast cable.

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I'm a TWC customer, and I'm none too happy with this. Have yet to hear anything positive about Comcast, and it's not like I have stellar service with TWC as it is. I just don't think this will be a net positive for me, regardless of how their PR departments spin this. I think it's just the start of higher cost services with no improvement in quality (along with probably bandwidth caps). Going to start looking for alternatives this weekend. I had planned on looking elsewhere for cable/internet/etc. later this year anyway because of cost, reduction in Internet speed (because apparently TWC customers don't want faster broadband), etc. Guess I'll just accelerate those plans. Glad I didn't pull the trigger on a new "contract" with TWC earlier this year.

I was a longtime time warner customer. Their outrageous prices made me switch to direcTV. After their last price hike I cut the cord. This will be bad for customers of both companies, probably worse for time warner customers.

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This puts a monopoly on cable networks in my area. You have either Comcast, Time Warner, or satellite. I'm surprised this deal is allowed.

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This puts a monopoly on cable networks in my area.

Having a sole cable company serving an area isn't unusual at all. Very few services are willing to build out the massive infrastructure necessary to compete in areas where one company dominates.

Not unusual, not competitive, and ultimately not good for the consumer. Media, internet and phone service providers are an incestuous oligopoly.

We were longtime Comcast customers until about 3 months ago. CenturyLink/DirectTV had just put in fiber optic cables in our area and knocked on our door with an offer we couldn't refuse. We are VERY happy with their products/service! Absolutely perfect timing because I'm a Winter Olympics junkie and now I can RECORD them automatically and not have to sweat being home at the right time etc.! (Not to mention being very happy just to get rid of Comcast...)

I come at this from two perspectives... I was a Comcast customer AND employee, and now get cable from Time Warner.

I worked for TCI Cable in Seattle, until they were bought out by AT&T Broadband. AT&T of course was then acquired by Comcast. As a person who worked in the cable industry for around 10 years (and a Comcast employee for about half of that), I can say I'm no fan of Comcast when it comes to working for them. I'm sure some of the bad management I experienced was local, and came from the same schmucks who worked for the other two companies. Of course I still have to point out that Comcast shouldn't have schmucks working for them in Management positions, so they do take some blame for keeping the BS going. Some of that legacy leadership affected customers as well. I'm talking about tweaking the numbers that they had to report to local government which tallied how many calls were answered in their call center in a timely manner. I worked in the department that monitored that activity & over the years saw that information take a real sketchy turn. I also witnessed customers getting services put on their accounts that they didn't order. The Sales person would of course try to sell them as much as they could (that's their job & there's nothing wrong with that). A lot of people are cost conscious or don't trust the cable company, so every sale wasn't a home run. Some Sales reps (with their Supervisors and Managers turning a blind eye) would put extra services on the customers' order. When the customer got their bill, they called in. This time they were routed to the Billing department who would apologize, remove the extra service, and adjust their bill. The Sales person by then though had already gotten their commission for the bogus sale. Their top sellers were raking in $60k or more. Of course when other ppl who didn't cheat would complain, then the Sales person would be fired. The goals for the Sales ppl kept getting higher & higher (because hell, they did so good last month!) so the cheating keeps going on as well, just to survive. Just a couple of my complaint's on that respect.

As a customer of Comcast I really had no complaints. Their DVR (the last one I used) kind of sucks, but I think most cable company-provided set-top boxes do. Otherwise I had good stable internet, and a nice lineup of TV services. Sure, like all cable companies, they moved channels to different tiers, yadda yadda yadda. TW just did that. On that respect I think they're a wash. I do know that the first modem I got from TW crapped out after only a few months. The replacement has been working fine though. My biggest complaint about their service is that (at least in the midwest) I have to use a tuning adapter box with my TiVo. It's a joke. Lot's of channels rarely come in, or they will go out in the middle of a show. Sometimes I'll think I have recorded something only to find out that the channel wasn't available. I have yet to swap that box so I know that's on me. But the unnecessary added hardware should be eliminated. There is no reason that the cable card should require one. My Comcast cable card didn't.

So that's my take on Comcast as a company. As far as being a monopoly, just remember that it's the competition and local government that hold that in their control. Other than making an agreement with your city's elected officials, the real thing that is stopping competition is that other cable companies don't want to spend the money to build out their service. It's easy for a satellite company to come in since they don't need any infrastructure on the ground other than technicians to install & service the dishes. But for somebody to come in and lay down cable or fiber, it's a pretty hefty sum of money. If somebody does decide to come in, then you have good competition and of course, better prices and services. But until they do, every cable company is basically a local monopoly. But remember that nobody is keeping out the competition other than the competition themselves.

Peace.

I use comcast for internet. Not much choice in my neck of the woods. I can't imagine this move being good (or that bad) for me though. It makes Comcast more powerful, gives them a louder voice, and more control in negotiations.

This is TERRIBLE. Comcast is such a craptastic company this will only lead to crappier customer service and fewer competition in the market place, which will screw-over customers in the long run with higher prices for their tv service / cable.

Maybe fees "might" go down in the short term for a few years to appease government regulatory agencies and consumers in the short term so they can say "Hey, look the cable business is almost a monopoly and look, prices are better for consumers!" But mark my words within 3 to 4 years, due to less competition in the market place, TV fees will go WAY up because of the effects that are happening today. Very sad.

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i moved from San Francisco with crap Comcast to LA with slightly less crap Time Warner. There is nothing about this that makes me think service will get better. TW has slightly better equipment and some better software on their boxes. But customer service in both is atrocious. The worst of any business i've ever encountered. The picture quality of HD is nothing more than standard definition on both. Neither knows what channels they carry especially the ones that aren't like the loved by old ladies, csi showing, network stations.

Generally, I think there's nothing positive about less competition. In LA there's already basically one able company. You can get Verizon if they are near you but thats not everybody. Without competition prices will get higher than they already are. It's just generally bad. What they need is more competition in these markets not less. Comcast is simply by far the worst cable company ever. Time Warner is the second worst. This is like Justin Beiber forming a Duet with that kid that sang "It's Friday! Friday!" The two of the worst things ever joining forces.

This needs a petition to the white house to stop.

I've never heard anything good regarding Comcast so i guess I'll be switching back to DirecTV. These types of mergers should never be allowed especially since there is no competition in cable service.

Although I doubt it will happen, the local monopolies (local governments grant "right of way" for running lines, etc.) should have been removed for cable companies a while back. Allowing consumer choice would go a long way, but I think it will have to be taken out of the local government's hands in order for it to change.

At the federal and/or state government level, they would have to declare cable and telco wires a pure utility and break up the companies into infrastructure companies (own and operate the lines) and service companies (provide content to consumers over those lines). As much as I am against sweeping federal government reform, I think this is where we will end up. The counter-point is that it has worked out reasonably well (not a complete fiasco nationally) for the electric and gas companies.

One wildcard is a company (Netflix, Google, Apple, Amazon, etc.) that would strike a deal to stream live TV over the IP network for customers of a "cable/satellite provider". It would have to be pretty much identical to the normal TV experience (or better) for it to work, but I think the possibility exists. My example is what Apple did with the iPhone and ATT. Apple all but dictated the terms of control over content and phone updates (pretty much unheard-of prior) while granting ATT exclusivity in exchange. Next gen Apple TV anyone?

Being a snowbird, I have had the unfortunate luck to have used both time warner (NYC) and comcast (ft lauderdale). Both tech and customer support sucks BIG TIME!!! I have since happily switched to FIOS in NYC. To a much improved internet and cable speeds and viewing. Support in FIOS is decent which is light years ahead of both TW and Comcast. But the absolute worst support system has to be comcast. HANDS DOWN!! too weeks for them to understand why I was being locked out of my internet service by their system. I mean horrendous. And fighting with customer support on their supposed pricing plans. Which chance at their whim. So if u have comcast, I suggest u try dish or some alternative if u have it.