Comcast-Time Warner merger nixed

comcast-time-warner-thumbnailInvestors, Justice department sink deal

In what be construed as good news for consumers,  Comcast Corp. has called off its takeover bid for Time Warner Cable.

The deal unraveled this week as investors started doubting the deal and chances of getting the deal cleared through the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.

Comcast and TWC would have created the nation’s largest ISP, and control nearly 70 percent of the broadband market.

The deal was opposed by many politicians,  unions (such as the Writer’s Guild), and consumer groups, but had support from free-market advocates and locally, the Chicago Tribune editorial board.

But what may have sunk the deal were Comcast investors who basically said “meh” and figured the deal wouldn’t pass regulatory approval. Investors noted Comcast was successful on its own and didn’t really need Time Warner Cable – it was an unnecessary addition and could have hurt the company’s value (see AOL Time Warner. )

Not helping prospects for the deal were reports of some Comcast customers receiving invoices in the mail addressed to them in a nasty manner (including some in the Chicago area) substituting a swear word for their real name. Neither Comcast or Time Warner Cable are known for good customer service.

So what’s next? Look for Charter (owned by former TCI Chairman John Malone) to make a play for TWC. While the FCC may have less of a problem with a deal, it too may face scrutiny from investors.