Comcast today confirmed previous reports that it has abandoned plans to acquire Time Warner Cable for approximately $45.2 billion after regulatory pushback.
Comcast said that the Department of Justice informed the companies that it had significant concerns that the merger would make Comcast "an unavoidable gatekeeper for Internet-based services that rely on a broadband connection to reach consumers."
"The companies' decision to abandon this deal is the best outcome for American consumers," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "The Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice has demonstrated, time and again, that it can and will defend the interests of the American consumer no matter the complexity of the issue or the size of the opponent. This is a victory not only for the Department of Justice, but also for providers of content and streaming services who work to bring innovative products to consumers across America and around the world. I commend the Antitrust attorneys and investigators whose outstanding work led to this outcome, and I know that the Department of Justice will continue to fight for fair access and free competition in every industry and every market."
A combination of the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. cable companies would have put nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof, which would give the resulting behemoth unprecedented power over what Americans watch and download.
Philadelphia-based Comcast has approximately 21.7 million video subscribers and 20.7 million broadband subscribers.
Time Warner Cable has approximately 11.4 million video subscribers and 11.6 million broadband subscribers, It is the fourth-largest video and the third-largest wired broadband Internet-access provider in the U.S.
Even with Comcast and Time Warner Cable saying Friday that the deal was off, cable companies are likely to keep combining. Analysts expect that Charter Communications, which lost out on its bid for Time Warner Cabl to Comcast Corp., to resurrect its effort.
And the $48.5 billion combination of DirecTV and AT&T is still expected to go through.