Is there anything Comcast could do at this point to save its controversial proposed merger with Time Warner Cable? According to a new report in The Wall Street Journal, the answer is “no.” Although Comcast is set to have an exclusive meeting with U.S. regulatory officials on Wednesday to offer concessions in a last-minute bid to saving the deal, the Journal’s sources say that it’s unlikely Comcast can offer anything that will make either the Department of Justice or the Federal Communications Commission warm to the proposed deal.
“Justice Department antitrust enforcers doubt that their concerns about Comcast’s planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable could be resolved by promises about how the cable giant would conduct business after the merger, according to people familiar with the matter,” the Journal writes. “Such commitments, known as behavioral remedies, aren’t usually the preferred approach for the Justice Department when it seeks to address mergers it views as problematic.”
The DOJ did accept such behavioral remedies when it signed off on Comcast’s merger with NBCUniversal back in 2011 but the department apparently finds the new merger proposal to be much more problematic than that deal. Additionally, enforcing such remedies would require constant scrutiny from the DOJ, which is something the department is reluctant to commit resources for when a simpler solution would be to just block the deal.
At any rate, it looks like Comcast’s plan to gain more control over the home broadband market through buying Time Warner Cable is in big trouble. And if customer satisfaction surveys are any indication, most Comcast customers don’t feel a shred of pity for the cable giant.