Comcast thought the Time Warner Cable merger would be all wrapped up by now, mostly because it’s so used to getting exactly what it wants from Washington. However, it’s been a year since the proposed merger was officially announced and its prospects are cloudier than they’ve ever been thanks in part to a series of customer service blunders that have left both companies embarrassed and apologetic about how they treat their own customers.
USA Today reports that some analysts who once thought the merger would be a layup are starting to have doubts about whether the government will actually sign off on it. Widely respected cable industry analyst Craig Moffett, for example, says the chance of the merger going through are now down to 60-40 and that cord cutting is a much more worrisome trend for the industry than previously thought.
“If anyone doubts the hostility of the regulatory climate in Washington now, imagine how clear it would be on the morning after a rejection,” Moffett recently wrote in a research note. “These risks must at least be acknowledged.”
One possible scenario is that regulators could approve the merger but under conditions that are so restrictive that they might force one of the companies to walk away from the table. Either way, Comcast is expecting to hear a verdict on its proposed merger in the first half of 2015 so it doesn’t have to wait too much longer to sweat out the results.