WASHINGTON Feb 20 Comcast Corp said
it plans to submit documents on its proposed $45 billion
takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc to U.S. federal
regulators by the end of March, when antitrust and public
interest reviews will be launched.
The merger between the two U.S. biggest cable operators is
expected to draw intense regulatory scrutiny from the Federal
Communications Commission, which reviews whether deals are in
the public interest, and either the Department of Justice or the
Federal Trade Commission, which share antitrust oversight.
The proposed deal has drawn concerns from consumer advocates
and some lawmakers who worry that the new company's size would
have too much power to decide what Americans can watch on TV and
Comcast is targeting the end of March to submit its
application to the FCC, said spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice.
Companies usually have 30 business days to file with the FCC
after a deal's announcement.
Around the same time, Comcast will also submit documents
asking antitrust regulators to approve the deal, she said. The
FTC and Justice Department will then determine which agency will
take the lead on the review.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Justice Department antitrust
chief William Baer sent a rare public signal of skepticism
earlier this month on a potential deal between wireless carriers
Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc. No deal has been
officially proposed yet between those companies.
On Thursday, Wheeler was asked whether he had similar
concerns about the proposed tie-up between Comcast and Time
"It was an interesting situation in that Sprint/T-Mobile
actually came to us and said: 'We're thinking about this, what
do you think about it?' Comcast never did. So I'm in a position
right now of sitting and waiting for Comcast to file their
requisite documents so that we can begin our consideration,"
"We'll wait to give it a full, fair, open hearing."
Comcast, which pledged upfront to several concessions that
federal regulators were likely to request, has maintained that
customers will benefit from the merger as services and
"All we can ask for is a full, fair, and open hearing - and
I think Chairman Wheeler's message is that is what we will get,"
Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen said in an
interview on Thursday.
"In the broadband space and in the video space, we're not
depriving a single consumer in America of a choice that he or
she has today," Cohen told reporters after the deal was
announced last week.