AirTalk for April 30, 2014

Would Comcast sale of some cable systems hasten its acquisition of Time Warner?

Cable Giant Comcast To Acquire Time Warner Cable

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

POMPANO BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 13: A Comcast sign is seen at one of their centers on February 13, 2014 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Today, Comcast announced a $45-billion offer for Time Warner Cable. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Cable giant Comcast could take over cable TV and high-speed internet in hundreds of thousands more homes in Southern California and across the country.

In a $19.5 billion deal reached between Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications on Monday, Charter would swap subscribers with Comcast as early as next year.

Charter customers in Comcast-dominated markets, including several Southern California cities, would become Comcast customers if the deal goes through. In return, Charter would take over service in states like Ohio and Indiana.

The swap is part of a plan to ease Comcast’s efforts to acquire Time Warner Inc. By shedding at least three million customers, Comcast hopes to convince the federal government to allow the merger with Time Warner, a $45 billion takeover that has faced criticism.

The swap with Charter will reduce the combined company’s national market share to less than 30 percent, making the deal more attractive to the feds.

What will the impact be on consumers? Is reducing the number of customers this way a fair approach to a big merger? Would a Comcast/Time Warner combination be an unfair cable monopoly in Southern California and beyond?

Guest:

Edmund Lee, Media Reporter for Bloomberg News


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