We haven’t really seen any indication yet on how the Federal Communications Commission feels about the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, but some key appointments made this week show us it could be in for a rough ride. Ars Technica’s Jon Brodkin reports that the FCC has appointed two people to its Comcast-TWC merger review team who have in the past been highly critical of major proposed mergers.
The first one, Northwestern University economics professor William Rogerson, is the most significant because he tends to be critical of big mergers in general and was on the record opposing Comcast’s merger with NBC — a transaction that was much less controversial than the current Comcast-TWC merger proposal.
The second one is U.S. Department of Justice attorney Hillary Burchuk, who represented the DOJ in its lawsuit that ended up killing the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. That merger was blocked in part on the grounds that it would give AT&T too much market power and hurt competition for wireless voice and data services, so we’ll have to see if Burchuk reaches similar conclusions about the Comcast-TWC merger.
These appointments don’t guarantee that the merger is doomed, of course, but they do signal that Comcast’s acquisition of TWC might not be the cakewalk its executives had hoped for.