Comcast CEO Optimistic on Time Warner Cable Deal Review

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts also discusses proposed open Internet regulation, calling Title II regulation "antiquated."

Cable giant Comcast continues to expect to get regulatory approval of its planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable, chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said on Tuesday, once again calling it "an approvable transaction."

The company still expects the deal will close "in early 2015," CFO Michael Angelakis added during an earnings conference call.

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Comcast has repeatedly said it expects the deal to be approved in early 2015 after originally eyeing a regulatory decision by year's end. The FCC previously paused its review before restarting it. Comcast is the largest U.S. cable operator, followed by TW Cable.

Roberts on Tuesday also repeated comments that Comcast was "absolutely" for a free Internet, but also that there was "unnecessary risk" in using what he called 1930s-type regulation via reclassification of broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II. This Title II regulation, eyed by the FCC, was "antiquated and has real downsides," Roberts said.

"It's an honor to lead this wonderful company," Roberts said in opening Tuesday's earnings call. "It's an incredible time" in media and technology. He cited the fast pace of change and "shifts in the regulatory climate" as affecting the industry.

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Discussing customer service strategy in the cable business, Roberts said: "We want customer service to be our best product. We have not always lived up to that."

Comcast also said it could add in excess of $5 billion in stock buybacks once the Time Warner Cable deal and related deals close.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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