Comcast has officially abandoned its proposed $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, reportedly warded off by the narrow odds for regulatory approval and not by the fact that a merger between Comcast and Time Warner sounds like the inspiration for a dystopian YA novel.
Deadline reported the news by way of a CNBC interview with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, who learned that the FCC was poised to reject the merger, deeming it bad for consumers. But Comcast knew the Time Warner tie-up was a long shot, so it structured the deal to allow it to easily withdraw from the deal without penalty, a concept the cable giant is apparently aware of after all.
The Wall Street Journal reported the deal might have gone sour due to the Justice Department’s concern over Comcast’s alleged meddling with a proposed sale of Hulu, the video streaming service co-owned by NBC. Comcast reportedly agreed to withdraw from the management of Hulu as a concession to help secure regulatory approval for the Time Warner merger. But the company allegedly went back on that promise in 2013, convincing Hulu co-owners Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox to scrap the Hulu sale, thereby eliminating the risk of an emancipated Hulu stealing its customers.
But life goes on for Comcast, as even Deadline noted Roberts was “strangely blasé” about the failure of a deal he’s spent more than a year trying to push through. There are as many terrible corporations to absorb as there are fish in the sea. Word has it Spirit Airlines is looking to get into a long-term relationship, so maybe that could be a thing.