Ergen to FCC: Reject the Comcast-TWC merger

Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) Chairman Charlie Ergen has told the FCC to reject the proposed mega-merger between Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).

Meeting in Washington with Federal Communications Commission officials, including chairman Tom Wheeler and commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Ajit Pai, Jessica Rosenworcel and Michael O'Rielly on Monday, Ergen and a team of Dish executives said the proposed deal "presents serious competitive concerns for the broadband and video marketplaces and therefore should be denied."

"There do not appear to be any conditions that would remedy the harms that would result from the merger," Dish added.  "A combined Comcast-TWC will be able to exercise its enormous size to leverage programming content in anti-competitive ways." 

Of key concern to Dish executives was the potential impact on over-the-top video.

"Comcast-TWC will have at least three 'choke points' in the broadband pipe where it can harm competing video services: the last mile 'public Internet' channel to the consumer; the interconnection point; and any managed or specialized service channels, which can act as high-speed lanes and squeeze the capacity of the public Internet portion of the pipe," Dish executives told the FCC. "Each choke point provides the ability for the combined company to foreclose the online video offerings of its competitors."

The FCC is the early stages of evaluating the Comcast/TWC deal. Also this week, the commission announced the teams that will oversee the review of not only Comcast/TWC, but also AT&T's (NYSE: T) proposed takeover of DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV).

FCC regulators might frame the Dish perspective into context--it was revealed last week that Dish was in serious talks to acquire DirecTV before the rival satellite MVPD made its $49 billion agreement with AT&T.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal story
- read this Los Angeles Times story

Related links:
Report: Dish stock poised to jump 20% ahead of FCC spectrum auction
Dish also bid for DirecTV, SEC filing recounts
FCC names 'merger hawks' to review pending pay TV mega-deals

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