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Is Merger With Time Warner Cable Off? Comcast Bloggers Act Like Nothing's Changed

Comcast blog posts Wednesday give the appearance that the company's huge merger plan is going forward, but several media reports Thursday say Comcast will walk away from the deal.

Industry reports say Comcast is planning to walk away from its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, but some Comcast executives have been blogging about the merger as if it is still happening.

Bloomberg on Thursday reported that the merger will be called off because of opposition from U.S. regulators. The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, under which Comcast would acquire Time Warner Cable in a deal worth $42.5 billion, would create a cloud and telecom powerhouse.

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that staff at the FCC recommended the agency "designate the merger for a hearing," which typically means that a rejection is planned, although the hearing could also be a part of the negotiation over possible concessions to close the deal.

[Related: Comcast Partners: Time Warner Deal To Create Industry 'Powerhouse']

Bloomberg reported that the end of the merger plan could restart talks by Time Warner Cable to merge with a smaller competitor, Charter Communications.

A Time Warner Cable spokesperson said the company had no comments about the merger.

Comcast did not respond to a request for more information in time for this report. But at least through Wednesday at Comcast, the appearance of the status quo between the two companies continued.


Myrna Soto, senior vice president for national emerging and technical operations security at Comcast, wrote in a blog post Wednesday during the RSA security conference that the two are committed to working together on security.

"Our transaction with TWC will accelerate the deployment of cutting-edge security tools and technologies throughout TWC’s network, allowing millions of additional users to enjoy a more secure online experience," Soto wrote.

David Cohen, executive vice president and chief diversity officer at Comcast, wrote in a Wednesday blog post that critics of the merger with Time Warner Cable have been "recycling" old claims about potential negative impacts of the merger, including the company's Internet Essentials program for bringing low-cost Internet service and a PC to low-income families with children in school.

"We are extremely proud of Internet Essentials and are confident that we will be able to do even more to help close the digital divide and encourage broadband adoption by expanding it to New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Charlotte, and other communities in the TWC markets," Cohen wrote.

Assuming the merger is indeed off, it would be a disappointment to the channel, said Andrew Pryfogle, senior vice president of cloud transformation at Intelisys, a Petaluma, Calif.-based distributor of technology services and partner with both Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

"We were excited about the pending merger," Pryfogle told CRN. "It would have resulted in an extended reach and extended services we could provide. But we're still bullish about the future. Both companies are committed to the channel."


Intelisys' business with both Comcast and Time Warner Cable has been growing quickly, Pryfogle said. Unfortunately for the two, they ran into a government roadblock.

"As an industry observer, I'm concerned about government overreach," he said. "But I think this will sort itself out."

While government regulators are concerned about access to broadband and other services on the consumer side, the business side is marked by increasing competition that would not have been impacted by the merger, Pryfogle said.

"In our world, we sell to business customers," he said. "Businesses need more and more bandwidth. No one ever calls to ask for less bandwidth. This has driven other carriers to increase capacity. XO Communications has recently quadrupled capacity. Level3 is increasing its investment in capacity significantly. CenturyLink is building out capacity."

PUBLISHED APRIL 23, 2015

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