BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield thinks Charter Communications already has about a 50-50 chance of earning regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC).
But Charter could “significantly increase the odds of approval” if it agreed to overbuild its broadband network into other ISPs’ territory and increase competition.
Greenfield is basing that expectation off of comments made by FCC general counsel Jon Sallet.
Last week, Sallet offered comparisons of the regulatory review process behind the Sprint-T-Mobile, Comcast-TWC and AT&T-DirecTV mergers. He said that it was unsurprising that the AT&T deal was the one that was approved since AT&T promised to bring fiber to another 12.5 million homes, a move that increased competition.
Given Charter’s pledges to data caps and usage-based pricing—a move that earned Charter’s proposed TWC deal the blessing of Netflix—and the operator’s smaller scale as compared to Comcast, Greenfield said the FCC could anticipate benefits like faster speeds and cost savings without the large-scale harms a Comcast-TWC tie-up may have caused the industry.
Greenfield also pointed out the relatively small amount of conversation with the Charter-TWC docket, compared to the Comcast-TWC deal which drew out opposition from dozens of parties.
But without an extended buildout promise from Charter, Greenfield says the FCC and Justice Department have a clear path toward blocking the deal since it wouldn’t bring more competitive options to consumers.
Filed Under: Industry regulations