Comcast would consider a spinoff of subscribers: source

Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:33pm EST

A Comcast sign is shown in San Francisco, California February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

A Comcast sign is shown in San Francisco, California February 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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(Reuters) - Comcast is considering spinning off the 3 million subscribers it has offered to divest as part of its proposed $45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable, into a publicly traded company, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The sources, who did not want to be named because the plans are private, said that Comcast had not yet made a decision and this is just one option it is considering. Comcast has said it is willing to divest 3 million subscribers to reduce U.S. regulators' competitive concerns.

Comcast has said it plans to submit documents on its proposed Time Warner Cable acquisition to U.S. regulators by the end of March, when antitrust and public interest reviews will be launched.

The deal has drawn concern from consumer advocates and some lawmakers who worry that the new company's size would give it too much power to decide what Americans can watch on TV and do online.

Comcast may sell the cable systems - whose location has yet to be determined - to a strategic buyer but a spinoff may be more tax efficient to shareholders of the combined company, the person added.

Bloomberg first reported the news of the potential spinoff on Friday.

The sources told Reuters that a spinoff was only one of several possibilities for the subscribers it needs to divest as part of the deal, which a second source said have already attracted interest from potential buyers.

It is not even clear whether the final number of subscribers to be divested will be the same as the three million initially mentioned, the second source said.

Liberty Media Chief Executive Greg Maffei said on Friday that Charter Communications would consider buying the subscribers Comcast is looking to divest. Liberty Media owns 27 percent of Charter.

Representatives from Charter and Time Warner Cable declined to comment while Comcast did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker; additional reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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Comments (2)
njglea wrote:
Just say NO to Comcast. Their spinoff would be owned and controlled by the same people. It’s a shell game to gain too much more power. NO merger.

Mar 01, 2014 9:59am EST  --  Report as abuse
Harry079 wrote:
Comcast is the absolute worse cable company in the country in dealing with it’s customers. No one I know pays the same rate even if the have the exact same bundle. The longer you stick with them the higher your bill goes.

We would just change between them and WOW every 18 months to 2 years to get the best rates.

Mar 01, 2014 2:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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