Friday, September 26, 2014

[UPDATED] New York's Comcast-Time Warner decision could come in November

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 5:15 PM

New York regulators will probably make their decision on the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger by the end of fall.

When the State Department of Public Service announced its review of the merger in late May, it said that the process would take about four months. But department staff requested an extension, according to a filing from Comcast and Time Warner submitted today.

The two companies have agreed to let members of the Public Service Commission (PSC) make their decision during their November 13 session. They say that they want a final order from the commission — essentially the formal version of the commission's decision — no later than November 19.

Comcast wants to buy up Time Warner Cable in a $45.2 billion all-stock deal. Time Warner Cable shareholders wouldn't get cash, but would instead get shares of the new, bigger Comcast. The companies announced the merger deal in February, but they need to clear regulatory reviews in the states where they provide cable services, as well as federal regulatory and antitrust reviews.

UPDATE September 29 — The extension is a technical matter. Under federal laws, the PSC was given 120 days to compete its review of the merger and to issue a decision. Under federal laws, if a decision hadn't been issued by the 120 day mark, the merger would have been automatically authorized. The extension allows for additional time. Public Service Spokesperson James Denn sent along this statement:

"The Comcast proceeding, affecting 2.2 million cable customers in New York and representing an approximate New York transaction value of $3 billion, has led to an intense stakeholder focus producing nearly 3,000 public comments, making it one of the most active proceedings in commission history. Given the depth and breadth of the public record and the importance of the issues presented, the commission has accepted the extension of the period for review so that it may consider the matter more fully at its November 13 session."

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