Comcast CEO Brian Roberts on Tuesday said he was “cautiously optimistic” that his company’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable would get the regulatory approval needed so that the transaction could close next year.
Shareholders for both companies will vote on the proposal in October, and some consumer groups have objected to the combination. Roberts, though, has maintained that customer service and product offerings will improve if Time Warner is allowed to merge with Comcast.
The $45 billion deal announced in February involves an asset swap and about 4 million Comcast-Time Warner Cable customers heading to Charter Communications.
“All of the cable deals have always gone through,” Roberts said. “The process is underway in earnest and we’ve got many states and local communities to already approve of the transfer.”
Roberts, speaking from New York, was addressing the 2014 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills.
Roberts also boasted that Comcast was a great place to work and that the artistic community has enthusiastically embraced the conglomerate, in part because of a smooth transition at The Tonight Show.
“The success of Jimmy Fallon‘s launch is going noticed by many people in the creative community,” the exec stated.
Roberts acknowledged the rising costs associated with retransmission and affiliate fees, a situation that can be both good and bad for his company since it is a creator, owner, seller, buyer and distributor of content.
“It’s a really critical conversation that’s going to be going on for 10 more years,” Roberts said. “We need to offer more packaging and flexibility. … Perhaps our company being in both sides can help facilitate that conversation in a way that is constructive.”
He added that NBC has gone from zero in retransmission fees to $350 million annually over the course of a few years.
Roberts also told the attendees he is “really excited about next year’s film slate,” though he didn’t highlight any particular titles.