Heartland Institute Experts React to Comcast Purchase of Time Warner Cable

February 13, 2014

Comcast announced Thursday it has reached a deal to acquire Time Warner Cable via a $45.2 billion stock buy. If the move is approved by federal regulators, it will make Comcast the nation’s largest cable and broadband provider with more than 30 million customers.

The following statements from legal and technology experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“The merger does not limit competition because Comcast and Time Warner do not compete against each other. The two companies do not now operate in any of the same ZIP codes. The larger company will have greater resources, which will allow them to compete against other media companies – such as Netflix – in creating new content for their subscribers. Increased competition is always good for the consumer. No consumer has ever been wounded in a price war.”

Ronald D. Rotunda
The Doy & Dee Henley Chair and Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence
Chapman University

“This merger would be a great thing for consumers. The one thing it could not possibly do is hurt competition, given that Time Warner and Comcast don’t compete for customers in the same markets. On the contrary, this merger will strengthen competition by giving the merged firm more market power, which will make it a stronger competitor versus satellite and web TV delivery services.

“The merger will also strengthen all TV providers’ negotiating stance against program providers, who have been charging ever-higher programming fees, which consumers ultimately get stuck paying for. So don’t expect mainstream media companies to say anything good about this merger, and you can expect the Obama administration to treat it like the Keystone pipeline: something exceedingly good that must not be allowed to happen.”

S.T. Karnick
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute

“Comcast acquiring Time Warner is an utterly unremarkable feature of a healthy free market – except that the government has set itself up in a preemptive Mother-May-I overlord position, and these free-market practitioners must prostrate themselves before the government.

“The government can outright forbid the free-market practitioners from practicing by blocking the deal. Or they can jam them with pages and pages of conscripted, extra-legal, unequal-before-the-law regulations that apply only to them – in exchange for Mother Government saying ‘yes.’ Or, here’s a better idea: The government can allow the free market to be free, and allow a willing buyer and a willing seller to willingly transact.

“Here’s hoping the latter happens – and we move on in amazed appreciation from a transaction that is otherwise unremarkable.”

Seton Motley
President, Less Government
Policy Advisor, Telecom
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 30-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.