WASHINGTON, March 4, 2015 - In a panel on media consolidation at today's American Cable Association Summit, Ross Lieberman, ACA's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, said the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable "is not going as Comcast planned."
"I think the odds of it passing have been decreasing," Lieberman told the audience of independent cable leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., for ACA's 22nd Summit.
Some on the panel essentially predicted the merger would not be approved. "The Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice are conducting a very serious review," said Jeffrey Blum, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Dish Network. "I wouldn't be surprised at all if the merger was rejected, because of all the harm. It should be rejected, and if regulators do their job, it will be rejected," Blum added.
John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney for Public Knowledge, predicted that it is "likely" that the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger will be blocked, while the AT&T-Direct TV merger won't go through as originally proposed but will require conditions.
Not surprisingly, advocates for Comcast and AT&T were more optimistic. Regarding the AT&T- Direct TV merger, Hank Hultquist, Vice President of Federal Regulatory for AT&T said the merger will succeed based on its merits. "If you look at the case that has been made by AT&T, its supporters, and proponents, we have strong arguments that reasons for the merger are consistent with changes in the marketplace, and this is a necessary response to those changes," he said.
Jon Leibowitz, Comcast counsel at Davis Polk & Wardwell, concurred. "The agencies are doing very thorough reviews. That's what they are supposed to do. Both of these mergers in the end will go through. They have a lot of pro-consumer benefits that will outweigh any anticompetitive claims," Leibowitz said.
Taking place March 3-5 in Washington, D.C., the ACA Summit is a forum that allows independent cable operators to come in close contact with America's top lawmakers, regulators and journalists to discuss the vital communications issues of our time.
The event is taking place at the Grand Hyatt, 1000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001. Please visit the ACA Summit 2015 website by clicking here: ACA Summit.
Created in the early 1990's, the ACA Summit gives independent cable operators a vehicle for framing the issues in their own words during dozens of meetings on Capitol Hill over a short period of time. More so than ever, ACA Members agree on the need to speak with one voice and to be as visible as possible in making their views known on the diverse and complex issues facing their companies.
ACA's more than 800 independent cable operators play a unique role in providing best-in-class communications services to millions of consumers, many living and working in rural areas of the country. These operators also are competitive providers of cable service in urban areas, bringing choice and price competition to consumers. When it comes to responding to the critical broadband infrastructure needs of America, ACA Members are supplying the solutions.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 850 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/
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