Time Warner, Comcast merger may be on the cards: reports

Time Warner Cable could potentially include Comcast in its list of merger candidates, which itself is seeking advice on possible regulatory hurdles if it were to pursue a bid, CNBC reported on Friday citing sources close to the situation.

According to the sources, Comcast, the parent company of CNBC and NBC was not in active discussions on deal terms with Time Warner Cable (TWC), but was asking for guidance on antitrust and telecommunications-related issues.

The CNBC report said according to people familiar with the matter, TWC had made it clear that if it sold itself, Comcast would be its preferred buyer.

According to the people, Comcast had been quietly considering a deal with TWC for some time, although Time Warner was the first to indicate interest to Comcast.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, it was not as if Comcast was trying to (aggressively) go after Time Warner Cable.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Time Warner Cable was on the verge of a bid from Charter Communications, which said it was near an agreement with banks for the funds to make that offer. According to analysts, though, Time Warner's needs might be better suited with Comcast.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News quoted a person involved in the deal as saying that Comcast did not think the government would stop such a deal on antitrust grounds, though rivals could try to convince the regulators not to allow the deal.

Commentators say cable companies, did not really compete in the US one's cable provider was wholly a function of where one's house was located.

However, in the event of their  merger, the combination of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (TWC) would create one giant provider covering over 60 per cent of subscribers nationwide and would account for one-third of all pay-television customers, industry analyst Craig Moffett said.

Though the Federal Communications Commission had objected to this level of consolidation in the past, regulators had been stymied by the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, which had thrown out a rule prohibiting cable companies from controlling over 30 per cent of the industry.

The court found such a cap to be arbitrary, especially in the context of the rise of satellite television as an alternative to cable.