Back in February last year, Comcast suggested a takeover merger of Time Warner Cable at a value of $45.2 billion, which would make it an even larger broadband cable provider than it already is, covering over 40 percent of the U.S. market.
The deal faced a great deal of public opposition, and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler also expressed serious doubt about whether the merger will truly benefit consumers. Now, Comcast announced that it is withdrawing from the deal.
"Today, we move on. Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk away," said Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts in a press release.
Over the past few months, Comcast faced massive public opposition to the merger, scrutiny from Tom Wheeler at the FCC, along with a possible incoming lawsuit from the DOJ.
Recently, the FCC re-classified cable broadband providers as Title II providers, which includes Net Neutrality rules that prevent blocking websites (so long as the content is not illegal), throttling, and paid prioritization, and they increased transparency. Under these rules, the ISPs would no longer be able to dictate who has better access to their networks, and they would no longer be able to build so-called "fast lanes" for content providers that paid extra. The fear is that an ISP the size of Comcast and TWC together will have the power to abuse its customers in other ways.
Fortunately, Comcast structured the deal in such a way that it could back out if it was faced with too much regulatory pressure, meaning that aside from all the time that went into attempting to make the deal happen, from here on out there are no further costs.