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US antitrust lessons from the proposed Comcast/TWC merger

Logan M. Breed

Logan M. Breed,

Washington, D.C.

Meghan Rissmiller

Meghan Rissmiller,

Washington, D.C.

09 November 2015
Comcast’s failed acquisition of Time Warner Cable ("TWC") presents a lesson in the types of antitrust harms that merger enforcers in the United States are willing to pursue.
US antitrust lessons from the proposed Comcast/TWC merger

Using traditional “horizontal” merger analysis, the combination would have resulted in almost no reduction of head-to-head competition, as there were very few geographic areas in which the two companies were head-to-head rivals.  Nevertheless, the enforcers, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division ("DOJ") and the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC"), which have concurrent jurisdiction to review communications mergers, took a broader view of how harm should be analyzed and found the transaction would have significantly reduced competition – and in the face of that resistance, the parties abandoned the transaction.

The demise of this deal represents a stark reminder that a lack of significant horizontal concerns does not automatically mean the deal will sail through the regulatory process if other complexities that would affect competition are present.

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Logan M. Breed

Logan M. Breed,

Washington, D.C.

Meghan Rissmiller

Meghan Rissmiller,

Washington, D.C.

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