Commission won't oppose deal

The Federal Trade Commission concluded that Time Warner Cable and Comcast’s proposed acquisition of bankrupt cabler Adelphia will not be anti-competitive and has therefore closed its seven-month investigation into the pending deal.

Writing for the 3-2 majority, agency chairman Deborah Platt Majoras stated:

“The proposed transaction will bring under common ownership adjacent cable distribution systems in certain metropolitan areas. These geographic consolidations are part of a trend toward ‘clustering’ in the industry. (FTC’s) Bureau of Competition, working with the Bureau of Economics, has conducted an extensive investigation to determine whether the proposed transactions are likely to substantially lessen competition … The evidence obtained during the investigation does not suggest that the proposed transactions are likely to substantially lessen competition in any geographic region in the United States.”

Commissioners Pamela Jones Harbour and Jon Leibowitz concurred with the decision, but dissented in part, stating:

“In large part, this acquisition will be competitively neutral or even procompetitive. Indeed, there are genuine benefits to the deal. For these reasons, we concur in part in the majority statement … However, serious concerns remain that within certain geographic markets, this transaction may raise the cost of sports programming to rival content distributors, and thus substantially lessen competition and harm consumers. For that reason we dissent in part.”

Deal is still awaiting approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

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