From a strictly investment point of view the consensus seems to be Comcast‘s $45.2B all stock deal to buy Time Warner Cable is great for TWC, good for Comcast, and bad for Charter — which lost its best opportunity to become a cable mega power — and programmers. “It will be argued that a carriage deal with a merged Comcast/TWC would suddenly be an existential requirement for programmers, and that Comcast would, in effect, have unilateral control over what content could and couldn’t be heard by the American public,” MoffettNathanson Research’s Craig Moffett says. In briefings this morning, Comcast and TWC wouldn’t discuss revenue opportunities but did say that they expect to see $1.5B in cost savings. Execs also noted that the deal does not include a break up fee. That would leave TWC free to take a higher bid in the unlikely event that one comes along, but also provides no protection if the deal falls apart. Owners of TWC stock would own 23% of Comcast if the merger closes. Investors are braced for a long slog, though, as the transaction goes through the regulatory process. At mid-day TWC shares are up 6.9% to $144.65 — after touching an all time high of $146.19. That’s still below Comcast’s $158.82 offer, suggesting some concern that the deal might not fly in Washington. Comcast is -3.7%. And Charter is -5.8%.
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