Comcast Deal Has 'Huge' Potential, Says Time Warner Cable CEO

5:59 AM PST 03/12/2014 by Georg Szalai
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus

UPDATED: Rob Marcus tells an investor conference that the proposed transaction is "a dream combination" and that year-to-date subscriber trends at his company have been "terrific."

Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus told an investor conference Wednesday in more detail why his company's board agreed to sell to Comcast, calling the proposed combination a dream deal with big upside potential.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Florida, he said his management team was focused on maximizing shareholder value and enhancing consumers' user experience in evaluating possible deals. "The combination truly is a dream combination," he concluded. "The value creation opportunity is huge."

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Marcus added that while the TWC board saw value upside if the company remained independent, it felt there was more upside with Comcast as the new owner. Charter Communications, in which John Malone's Liberty Media owns a 27 percent stake, had also bid for TWC.

Asked about subscriber momentum at TWC year-to-date, Marcus said "our subscriber trends have been terrific." The company previously said that it had its strongest January in five years in terms of residential subscriber growth, and Marcus said that momentum continued in February.

Discussing his future after the close of the proposed deal, Marcus said: "Whether or not I'll be here [at the conference] next year… is a question that remains to be answered." The two companies have said they expect to close the deal by year's end. With Comcast Cable boss Neil Smit set to run the combined company, industry observers have been wondering where Marcus may land next.

The TWC CEO told the investor conference Wednesday that this year he would focus on working with Comcast to get regulatory approval for the proposed deal. And he said he has promised Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts to hand over TWC in the best shape possible, meaning his top executives will look to ensure the business operates well while the deal gets reviewed.

"How we perform over the next months bears directly on how the new Comcast will perform" given that TWC will account for about a third of the combined company, Marcus said.

"I have every confidence that the deal will close," he said when asked about the regulatory outlook for the transaction. And he reiterated that the companies continue to target a close around year-end. "Our view is that it is totally approvable," Marcus said about the deal.

Asked about concerns that some critics have raised about the combined company's market power in the broadband business, Marcus said he didn't understand those concerns. "In broadband or video, I don't see any difference … we don't compete with each other," he explained, meaning that the combination wouldn't reduce the number of competitors in the marketplace.

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

 

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