TWC's Marcus: Busy FCC may be delayed in finishing Comcast purchase approval

With the FCC oversubscribed to various other corporate mergers, not to mention reimagining its net neutrality rules, it could very well be delayed in reviewing Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), TWC CEO Rob Marcus said.

Rob Marcus, TWC


Marcus made this statement last week in a memo sent to TWC employees and obtained by Capital New York. In this missive, he indicated concern that the FCC's workload could push the merger's approval/rejection beyond the end of 2014. Marcus also pondered the cumulative impact of the other events on the Comcast/TWC deal.

"As you know, since we announced our deal, AT&T (NYSE: T) and DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) announced their plan to merge and rumors continue to circulate about the possibility that Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) will attempt to combine," Marcus wrote. "At a minimum, these other deals in the telecom space may put a strain on the resources of the FCC, which is already busy with its proceedings on 'net neutrality' and the auction of additional wireless spectrum. In the meantime, recent speculation about mergers and acquisitions in the content world are adding more fuel to the public debate about whether consolidation is good or bad for consumers. While it's possible that all this noise could impact the review of our deal, we continue to work closely with Comcast on planning for a closing around year-end, understanding that it could take longer."

Marcus added that about 40 meetings between Comcast and TWC executives have taken place so far to plan the integration of the two companies, as well as orchestrate the associated joint venture with Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), SpinCo.

"We're also beginning the process of helping Comcast and Charter with the integration planning for the Comcast-Charter transactions that will occur following our merger," Marcus writes. "Christian Lee, senior VP of M&A, has ably played point in our integration efforts, coordinating with Comcast and, more recently, Charter, organizing meetings between our functional leaders and their Comcast and Charter counterparts (we're up to 40 meetings and counting) and coordinating the responses to countless (more than 2,000, last I checked) information requests. The joint Integration Steering Committee, consisting of senior executives from both TWC and Comcast meets monthly and the dialogue has been open and active. In particular, I've been impressed with Comcast's interest in and openness to our views and ideas about what works and what doesn't--while the decisions will ultimately be theirs, they've really demonstrated an interest in taking a 'best of breed' approach to the integration of our two companies. Overall, I'd say the process is going quite well despite the magnitude and complexity of what needs to get done."

For more:
- read this Capital New York story

Related links:
FCC starts 180-day clock on Comcast-TWC merger review
Ergen to FCC: Reject the Comcast-TWC merger
FCC names 'merger hawks' to review pending pay TV mega-deals