WASHINGTON — DirecTV warned the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday that Time Warner and Comcast’s proposed acquisition of bankrupt cabler Adelphia poses a “serious threat” of “anticompetitive behavior.”
In public comments filed with the commission, the satcaster wrote that the deal “would enhance the market power of the nation’s two largest cable MSOs in regions across the country. Both of these cable operators have a history of exercising such market power where they already have it. In particular, both have arranged to withhold, or raise the cost of, ‘must have’ regional sports network programming” in certain markets.
The deal, DirecTV said, “would create many more such regional monopolies where anticompetitive behavior would be likely” and thus presents “a far more serious threat to the public interest than did earlier proceedings raising similar issues.”
Last April, TW and Comcast won a bidding war for Adelphia with a $17.6 billion offer. Deal, if approved, will allow the two cablers to divvy up Adelphia’s 5.3 million subscribers.
DirecTV opposes approval unless the FCC addresses implications the satcaster said are worrisome.