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Comcast defends Time Warner merger as review kicks off

Comcast defends Time Warner merger as review kicks off

TOO BIG?:Comcast's 175-page filing with the Federal Communications Commission formally launches the regulatory review of the proposed $45.2 billion merger between the No. 1 and No. 2 cable operators. Photo: Reuters

By Alina Selyukh and Liana B. Baker

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Comcast Corp’s merger with Time Warner Cable Inc would not deprive consumers of TV or broadband choices and would help the two companies compete against newcomers including Google Inc and Apple Inc in the video market, Comcast told U.S. regulators on Tuesday.

Comcast’s 175-page filing with the Federal Communications Commission formally launches the regulatory review of the proposed $45.2 billion merger between the No. 1 and No. 2 cable operators. The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct the antitrust review and the FCC will examine whether the deal is in the public interest.

In the filing, Comcast reiterated that Comcast and Time Warner Cable do not directly compete in any markets, meaning no consumer would lose a choice of an Internet or cable provider, as Comcast instead would boost the quality of Time Warner Cable’s services and bring faster Internet speeds.

Comcast has pledged to divest some cable subscribers so the combined company would serve just under 30 percent of the U.S. pay television video market. The company said it would serve between 20 and 40 percent of the U.S. broadband subscribers.

Opponents have raised concerns that the combined company will have too much power over what Americans can watch on television and do online.

In Tuesday’s filing, Comcast argues that such concerns are unwarranted, especially given the growing competitiveness of both the video and the Internet markets.

All of Comcast’s and Time Warner Cable’s businesses compete with “array of sophisticated companies with national or even global footprints,” including satellite and telecom companies, the companies said in the filing.

Comcast’s filing comes a day before the company’s executive vice president, David Cohen, and Time Warner Cable’s finance chief, Arthur Minson, are scheduled to testify in Congress. They are expected to face questions about the combined company’s reach into broadband markets.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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