Report: FCC wanted Comcast to break up NBCU and X1

To gain approval for its proposed $45.2 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), FCC commissioners demanded that Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) choose between keeping NBCUniversal or its X1 video platform.

"Regulators are very concerned about their ownership of broadband and tying up programmers by imposing online restrictions," said an anonymous source to the New York Post, which reported this news. "They wouldn't allow X1."

The Post says Comcast has a deal with Cox Communications to provide its cloud-based X1 technology to the privately held MSO. The FCC, the paper contends, felt ownership of a dominant video platform in the cable industry, alongside one of the biggest programming conglomerates, constituted too much consolidated market power.

Both the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice expressed strong sentiment that "behavioral" mandates on Comcast--the kind imposed as conditions of its 2011 purchase of NBCU--weren't enough this time. And the structural changes suggested by the two federal bodies were reportedly too much for Comcast to accept.

For Comcast, the deal failed, despite a huge lobbying effort that, according to Bloomberg, cost the company $17 million in 2014. The effort engaged the work of 128 lobbyists last year, the news service reports, using data gathered from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Meanwhile, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) spent a total of $2.7 million on lobbyist last year, the org reports, much of that to stop Comcast from merging with TWC.

For more:
- read this New York Post story
- read this Bloomberg story
- read this Los Angeles Times story

Related links:
Comcast kills $45.2B Time Warner Cable takeover
Report: Comcast set to walk away from TWC deal
Comcast-TWC deal decision ominously sent to administrative judge by FCC
Report: Comcast agreed to make Hulu 'nationwide streaming video platform of the cable industry'

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