FCC starts 180-day clock on Comcast-TWC merger review

After nearly five months of sturm und drang in the run-up to the regulatory approval process, the FCC has finally started the 180-day clock on vetting the proposed merger between Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).

The formal process started Thursday, July 10, just several days after the Federal Communications Commission selected a fairly strident team to oversee the review process. Comments and petitions to deny the deal are due to the FCC by Aug. 25, with replies and oppositions to deny due Sept. 23 and final comments due Oct. 8

"With the FCC's Public Notice on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and related transactions, the next step in the formal review process begins," wrote Sena Fitzmaurice, VP of corporate communications - government & regulatory communications for Comcast, on the company's blog. "We look forward to a thorough, fact-and-data based comment and review process on questions that are specifically related to the issues raised by these transactions.

"Our filings have shown that considerable consumer benefits occur because of this transaction and there's no diminishment in competition," Fitzmaurice added. "Of course, we fully expect a robust debate, and that's what the FCC process is for. But we believe that once all the facts are in the record, it will show the significant advantages that bringing these companies together will bring."

Separately, Comcast has submitted several more pro-merger advertisements to the Securities and Exchange Commission for review. The latest one touts the combined company's net neutrality abidance.

Comcast net neutrality ad

Comcast's latest proposed ad says it "is committed" to extending net neutrality protections through its TWC merger. (Source: Comcast)

For more:
- read this Comcast blog post

Related links:
Ergen to FCC: Reject the Comcast-TWC merger
FCC names 'merger hawks' to review pending pay TV mega-deals
Comcast-TWC would control 29% of the U.S. pay TV market, nearly 36% of broadband: report