Time Warner Cable said on Friday that it has had “no indication” that Justice Department attorneys are preparing to block their acquisition by Comcast, after Bloomberg reported that the antitrust division was leaning against the transaction.
Shares of both companies were down in afternoon trading.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reported that staff attorneys in the antitrust division were preparing to recommend that the merger be blocked.
Bobby Amirshahi, spokesman for TW Cable, said in a statement that it is had “no indication that this is true. We have been working productively with both DOJ and FCC and believe that there is no basis for DOJ to block the deal.”
The DOJ is reviewing the merger on antitrust grounds, while the FCC is scrutinizing the transaction to determine whether it is in the public interest.
The Stop Mega Comcast Coalition, which includes Dish Network, Blaze TV and the Writers Guild of America, said in a statement that the Bloomberg report was “encouraging.”
“But, we also recognize that the DOJ and FCC review is ongoing, so we intend to continue to vigorously advocate for the formal rejection of this merger, amplifying the voices of businesses, consumer organizations and more than 700,000 citizens who have spoken out against this bad deal.”
Update: A spokeswoman for Comcast said, “The Comcast/Time Warner Cable transaction will result in significant consumer benefits — faster broadband speeds, access to a superior video experience, and more competition in business services resulting in billions of dollars of cost savings. These benefits have been essentially unchallenged in the record — and all can be achieved without any reduction of competition. As a result, there is no basis for a lawsuit to block the transaction.”
Tuna Amobi, Equity Analyst with S&P Capital IQ, said that the odds have been shifting against the merger, with concerns over Comcast’s share of the broadband market. He cited the regulatory landscape in which the FCC recently adopted robust net neutrality rules, in which it banned such things as paid prioritization and throttling of content.
“At a minimum, we might be getting to a point where the potential conditions that may be imposed by regulators may be too onerous to make the deal economically feasible,” he said. “That is the best case scenario. The worst case is that regulators will shut it down.”