If there’s one thing that Americans have been clamoring for, it’s fewer choices when it comes to cable providers. CNBC reports that Comcast has been asking the Federal Communications Commission about the regulatory hurdles it might face if it tries to buy Time Warner Cable in a massive merger that would turn America’s two largest cable companies into an even bigger behemoth. While Time Warner Cable is apparently listening to several suitors’ offers, CNBC’s sources say that the company would prefer to be bought out by Comcast over any other competitor.
In related news, The Wall Street Journal reports that Charter Communications has also been raising cash in a bid to buy up Time Warner Cable, a move that the Journal says “could spark a fresh wave of consolidation in the cable-TV industry, which has been steadily losing television subscribers to satellite operators and phone companies and faces new threats from online video.”
MoffetNathanson analyst Craig Moffett tells CNBC that Comcast might have trouble getting its Time Warner Cable merger proposal past the Federal Communications Commission since the FCC “applies a public interest test that would be much more subjective” than the antitrust regulations used by the United States Department of Justice.
Customer satisfaction surveys regularly show that cable companies are among the most disliked companies in the United States and it’s unlikely that further consolidation would make consumers any happier, especially since having fewer choices usually means paying higher prices.