Time Warner Merger Could Find Path Past Regulators

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It seems that regulators will make no moves to prevent a takeover of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) by competitors such as Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), or Cox Communications, Bloomberg reports. The news is unsurprising, however, as the same regulators have remained hands off even as cable television prices skyrocketed in the past two decades, having almost tripled what they were 20 years ago.

Time Warner Cable is the second largest U.S. cable operator, and a takeover by any of the three other largest competitors would result in a monolithic entity. As of 2009, however, a U.S. court abandoned the idea of a regulatory cap on the size of cable companies, and Bloomberg reports that antitrust laws may not prove relevant, since cable providers rarely compete with one other for customers.

Cable is a different animal than say, wireless, Bloomberg notes, recalling a 2011 proposed merger of two of the four largest wireless providers, which the U.S. Department of Justice blocked. The last time government regulators addressed a cable merger was 2006, with the downfall of bankrupt Adelphia Communications. The Federal Communications Commission allowed Comcast and Time Warner to buy Adelphia’s assets for $17.6 billion.