Now another admirer has come forward. Comcast has offered a price very close to the one TWC had previously said it wanted.
The Weather Company, an IBM Business, formerly WSI
Size brings clout, but it also attracts attention. Regulators will scrutinise this deal closely, especially because many Americans already have a very limited choice of pay-television providers in their area. Comcast, which would have around 33m subscribers after absorbing TWC, will reportedly agree to divest around 3m of them, but regulators could ask for more. The most important plot line in the battle for control of TWC has been about consolidation in the cable industry.
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More heft could help cable operators fend off satellite-TV firms and wireless-broadband companies, which have grabbed customers. In theory, scale will also give cable operators more power to negotiate with content companies, which have been trying to extract higher fees for the right to carry their channels.
Bernstein, a research outfit. However, in this instance another cable conqueror has left Mr Malone and his stetson in the dust.
Comcast, which was founded in , is based in un-glitzy Philadelphia and run by Brian Roberts, the quiet but determined son of one of its founders pictured. It blends the humility of a firm with roots in cable installation with the hunger of an underdog determined to take New York and Hollywood by storm. It has not shied away from audacious deals, such as an unsuccessful bid for Disney in see chart.
Even those who say there is not much rationale in combining content production with distribution say Mr Roberts was brilliant to buy it, because he got such a good deal. Although Comcast is prepared to pay high prices for good assets, once it gets them it imposes financial discipline. Presumably it thought he would keep costs under better control than a conventional Hollywood boss. Faced with the longer-term prospect of customers leaving it for alternative providers, Comcast is focusing on how to ensure its television offerings are as attractive as possible, especially given the high cost of cable subscriptions.
The firm has poured resources into redesigning its user interface to make channel-surfing easier. It has experimented with new features, such as allowing its subscribers to buy films through their set-top boxes, as opposed to just renting them, which it hopes will keep them loyal.
Comcast has also started to offer features that let subscribers watch TV on the go on laptops, tablets and smartphones and access previously aired shows from them, much like they can with online-video services such as Netflix. Get help with claims for unpaid wages and compliance with child labor laws. Get the resources you need to start or expand your business in Texas.
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