TW CEO: DC is not merger-friendly

Glenn Britt mum on rumored Comcast deal

NEW YORK -- Big cable or satellite TV mergers and acquisitions will continue to face hurdles in Washington, Time Warner Cable chairman, president and CEO Glenn Britt said Thursday.

"Big, consolidating mergers are going to have a tough time," he said at an investor conference in Marina Del Rey, Calif., pointing to Wednesday night's healthcare speech by President Obama that included references to the dangers of insurance companies being too big.

"They don't appear to be too friendly toward (big mergers)," Britt also said when asked about a possible combination of satellite TV giants DirecTV and Dish Networks or the acquisition of one of them by a telecom giant. Plus, "rumors of these mergers have been around many years."

Asked about the recent abolishment of a 30% FCC cap for the homes that a single cable operator can control, Britt also said he feels it changes little. "I personally never took that cap very seriously" as it had been struck down before, he said.

Asked about market chatter that his firm could try to buy bigger cable company Comcast Corp., he declined comment. "I read today that somebody was suggesting that," he said. "You know that I'm not allowed to comment on that."

Britt also said that so far in the third quarter subscriber momentum has remained weak for TWC, but advertising sales have seen "some improvement recently," particularly in the auto category. But he added that it is "too early" to tell if this trend is sustainable or has been mainly driven by the now-expired "cash for clunkers" government program to stimulate car sales.
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