WASHINGTON May 27 U.S. regulators should
challenge the proposed $45 billion merger of the two largest
American cable providers, Comcast Corp and Time Warner
Cable Inc, the New York Times said in an editorial in
The editorial, headlined "A Cable Merger Too Far," said
there were good reasons for the Justice Department and the
Federal Communications Commission to block the proposed purchase
of Time Warner Cable by Comcast. The Times cited limited
competition in the high-speed Internet market and Comcast's
negotiating power with Web content companies and TV programmers.
"The merger will concentrate too much market power in the
hands of one company, creating a telecommunications colossus the
likes of which the country has not seen since 1984 when the
government forced the breakup of the original AT&T telephone
monopoly," the editorial said.
"By buying Time Warner Cable, Comcast would become a
gatekeeper over what consumers watch, read and listen to."
The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing whether
the merger is in the public interest, and the Justice Department
will decide whether it complies with antitrust law. Public
interest groups and some legislators have opposed the
Comcast has argued that its business faces powerful
competitors like Google Inc or wireless carriers like
AT&T Inc, and has stressed that Comcast and Time Warner
Cable do not directly compete in any market.
AT&T, the No. 2 wireless carrier, has proposed buying the
largest U.S. satellite TV company, DirecTV, for $48.5
billion, which the Times said only increased concerns about
Internet and TV market consolidation.
A Washington Post editorial in April said regulators should
approve the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, but with
However, the Times said conditions, such as requiring the
merged company not to give favored treatment to established
content providers like Netflix, may not be enough.
" ... This merger would fundamentally change the structure
of this important industry and give one company too much control
over what information, shows, movies and sports Americans can
access on TVs and the Internet," the newspaper said.
"Federal regulators should challenge this deal."
To read the editorial, click here: nyti.ms/1myB1Pi
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)