One analyst says that the end of Sprint’s pipe dream is great news for Comcast. A team from Bernstein Research explains to Multichannel News reports that the two mobile companies turning their backs on each other somewhat increases the odds of some other major mergers going through.
And why? Because with one less merger to pore over, the FCC is the real winner, the analysts suggest. The commission can instead devote its time to the deals that are already on the table — Comcast/TWC and AT&T/DirecTV — and can prove it “can still be a relevant institution, able to resist high-profile lobbying campaigns and ignore distractions such as auction promises and attempts to negotiate by press leak.”
The Bernstein analysts think that both mega-mergers will be readily approved, and that not creating extra demands on the FCC’s time can get them both out lickety-split. That would allow the four companies to become two by early next year, despite protestations from consumers, lawmakers, and consumer advocates.
Still, it may be too soon for supporters of the Comcast/TWC merger to applaud the FCC’s ability to hunker down and knock it out. Sprint isn’t going to be buying T-Mobile anytime soon… but that doesn’t mean nobody else will. In an investor call today satellite TV company Dish hinted that they might eventually put in their own bid for T-Mobile, according to GigaOm.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement that keeping four national wireless carriers was “good for Americans consumers,” and encouraged Sprint to focus on competition. But merging satellite companies with mobile carriers wouldn’t bring that four down to three in the same way a mobile merger would. AT&T and Verizon both have wired and wireless services, and if AT&T gets permission to buy DirecTV then they’ll be a satellite TV company, too.
You might need to find a Magic 8-ball to ask what deals are going to take place and when they will be approved, but one thing is clear: merger mania is in the air, and it’s not going to calm down any time soon. Our colleagues down the hall at Consumers Union have released a video reminding consumers that despite what Comcast says, their engagement to TWC isn’t a great idea for everyone.