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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