Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. is all set to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. for about $45 billion. The impending deal will see the merger of two of the biggest cable companies in the U.S.
Comcast acquired NBC Universal from GE in 2011 and the Time Warner acquisition would be its second biggest deal, which could potentially alter the media scenario in the U.S. Comcast's legal advisers are New York-based antitrust law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell as well as Willkie Farr & Gallagher while Time Warner Cable's legal advisers are Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Davis Polk had assisted Comcast in winning the approval of U.S. Department of Justice in 2011 for the NBC Universal deal. The acquisition of Time Warner Cable could take as long as two years to finalize provided the antitrust regulators in the U.S. to do strike it down.
"This leaves Comcast as the sole king of the cable hill, with John Malone and Charter hitting a brick wall in their hopes of becoming a close number-two," said Richard Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG LLC, in an e-mail to Bloomberg. "This is a game changer for Comcast."
Under the terms of the deal, announced Thursday, Time Warner's shareholders are reportedly set to receive 2.875 shares of the newly issued Comcast common stock per share, according to people familiar with the matter. This basically means that valuation of each Time Warner share becomes $158.82. This figure is almost an 18 percent premium over Time Warner's current stock price.
The deal is an all-stock one and has newly issued shares, which means that Comcast will not be required to take on any new debt. However, the deal is subject to approval by shareholders of both Time Warner and Comcast. If the deal is struck as anticipated, then shareholders of Time Warner will have ownership to nearly a quarter of the combined company.
The deal will come as a blessing for Time Warner as the company will no longer need to grapple with a turnaround plan undertaken by new CEO Rob Marcus. The merger will also enable time Warner to become a part of a company, which is a force to be reckoned with in the cable TV industry.
Moreover, the deal will not have much impact on the consumers as both Comcast and Time Warner currently compete in very few markets. Therefore, only a small percentage of consumers will see their cable operator choice decreasing. If the deal goes through, Time Warner Cable subscribers would primarily stand to gain as as they would likely be offered Comcast's wider offering of channels and services. The deal would additionally make Comcast the largest broadband service provider in the U.S.