Analyst Downgrades Odds Of Comcast, Time Warner Cable Merger

Comcast-TWCLogoAn important industry analyst who had previously placed decent odds on Comcast being allowed to spend $45 billion to acquire Time Warner Cable is now looking at the deal in a less-sunny light, downgrading the likelihood of the merger succeeding.

Variety reports that MoffettNathanson Research, which already reduced the odds of merger approval to 70%, has now cut that figure again to 60%, “to reflect stiffening political headwinds.”

“If anyone doubts the hostility of the regulatory climate in Washington now, imagine how clear it would be on the morning after a rejection,” writes analyst Craig Moffett. “These risks must at least be acknowledged.”

At the same time, the report downgraded the stocks of Comcast, TWC, and Charter — which stands to swap a few million customers with the other two companies if the merger goes through — to “neutral,” also because of cord-cutting customers and what Moffett sees as darkening regulatory clouds.

While the FCC has expressed no interest in regulating broadband pricing, Moffett appears to be spooked by the mere possibility that the feds may someday meddle with what ISPs can charge for service.

“It would be naive to believe that the imposition of a regime that is fundamentally about price regulation, in an industry that the FCC has now repeatedly declared to be non-competitive, wouldn’t introduce risk to future pricing power,” Moffett explains, according to FierceCable.com.