Apparently blind to rising consumer unrest around the deal, Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus acted as a cheerleader for the proposed merger between his company and Comcast during a speaking engagement today. "The combination truly is a dream combination," he said at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference. Last month, Comcast — the largest cable provider in the US — announced its intent to acquire second-place Time Warner Cable for $45 billion. If approved, the merger would allow Comcast to offer service (either cable or internet) to two-thirds of American households.
"We don't compete with each other."
The companies hope to close the deal by year's end, and Marcus didn't seem concerned about hitting any roadblocks along the way. "I have every confidence that the deal will close," he said. "The logic of the deal is so compelling. I really don’t see anything undermining that." Comcast is doing everything it can to help guarantee that stamp of approval, including making sizable donations to lawmakers overseeing the deal. As for those anti-consumer concerns, Marcus said, "In broadband or video, I don't see any difference." He emphasized the two cable providers "don't compete with each other" — an argument that advocacy groups like Free Press have lambasted.
Marcus' cheery position is no surprise, as he's essentially been relegated to lame-duck CEO status while the deal works its way past regulators. It's not even clear what role (if any) he'll serve at the combined company. Comcast Cable chief Neil Smit is set to run things post-merger, and Marcus admitted his attendance at the same conference next year "is a question that remains to be answered."