Comcast’s decision to try to merge with Time Warner Cable last year might go down as one of the biggest strategic blunders of the decade. Not only was Comcast forced to embarrassingly withdraw its bid for the cable company but it also opened itself up to investigations about whether it’s actually lived up to promises it made to get its last mega-merger with NBCUniversal approved by regulators.
The New York Post’s sources say that regulators are “sitting on a ton of potential evidence” that Comcast has failed to live up to the conditions it agreed to as part of the deal to merge with NBC in 2011. Among other things, regulators have evidence that Comcast meddled in business decisions regarding Hulu, which would go against its promises to completely stay out of how Hulu is being run. Comcast also apparently “tied linear programming negotiations with digital deals — forcing programmers to sell to Comcast digital rights to their content on the same or better terms than they sold it to other online video distributors — when they promised not to.”
One of the major reasons that regulators were so skeptical of the proposed Comcast-TWC merger was they were concerned about Comcast not abiding by agreements it made with the government in previous mergers. There’s no guarantee that charges will be brought against Comcast, although one of the Post’s sources claims that regulators are “asking themselves if they can create a separate proceeding or whether they need a new complaint to allow [the evidence] to be introduced.”
All told, this is just another reason for Comcast to be kicking itself for trying to merge with TWC in the first place.