The Los Angeles Times just might be the first national publication to declare the proposed merger of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) not a fait accompli.
"Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is no longer viewed as inevitable," headlined a story written this week by staff writer Meg James, who cited the already well-reported litany of opposition and regulatory hurdles the deal is facing.
"Near as I can tell, this is the first time that a large outlet has put out a story talking about the proposed merger not being a fait accompli," said Paul Kincaid, communications director for Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.).
While the L.A. Times may be out ahead of the curve in terms of the national press, the notion that the Comcast-TWC deal has moved from slam dunk to layup to open-but-missable 10 foot jumper has already been spoken to by media analysts.
A MoffettNathanson note last week downgraded the deal's regulatory odds from 80 percent to 70 percent, for example.
Comcast, of course, is in the unenviable position of having to tune out this scoreboard, as it seeks to smooth the waters and gain approval not just from the FCC, but myriad local government bodies, as well.
"Thirty Minneapolis city buildings will get free basic cable for the next seven years as part of a package of concessions the city wrung out of Comcast in exchange for blessing its proposed merger with fellow cable giant Time Warner," Minnesota Public Radio reported. "Comcast has also agreed to pay Minneapolis $40,000 in overdue franchise fees after an audit found it underpaid the city for its use of the public right of way over the last three years."
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