New Time Warner Cable CEO Downplays Merger Possibility

Executive downplays reports on possible purchase by Comcast or Charter.

A sign hangs on a Time Warner Cable office on Aug. 3, 2011, in Los Angeles, California.
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Time Warner Cable has bled subscribers from its Internet and cable services in recent years but the company's incoming CEO Rob Marcus said on Monday he will not rush into a merger with another carrier, which could create a media behemoth and limit options for consumers.

Rivals Comcast and Charter Communications are each rumored to be mulling a purchase of the ailing Time Warner Cable, which could trigger antitrust scrutiny from the government because the expansion would give the new company too much control of subscriber fees and programming.

While Marcus did not dismiss the possibility of such a merger and acquisition when he spoke on Monday during the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, he stressed that Time Warner Cable's management is focused on running the company "for the long haul," Reuters reports. Marcus becomes chief executive of the company on Jan. 1.

[REPORT: Comcast Mulling Bid for Time Warner Cable]

"Whether or not Time Warner Cable will participate in M and A is and always has been, whether as a buyer or seller, 100 percent driven by what's in the best interest of our shareholders," he said.

Time Warner Cable, a stand-alone cable and Internet provider, does not include the media properties of the former part of Time Warner, which spun off from AOL in 2009.

Both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission would review a purchase of the company by either Comcast or Charter. The DOJ would be looking at antitrust concerns while the FCC would be concerned with public interest concerns, including whether a merger would improve efficiency and consumer services enough to be worth a potential negative impact on market competition.

A merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable would face prohibitive hurdles from the Obama administration but "a Republican administration likely would be more inclined to approve a deal," according to a Wall Street Journal interview with Ajit Pai, a Republican FCC commissioner, on Dec. 5. There are two Republican and three Democratic commissioners of the FCC.

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