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SCOTT JAGOW: It’s the largest sale of a bankrupt company in US history, $17.6 billion, Adelphia Communications. Today, the FCC votes on whether the cable giant can be divvied up to rivals Comcast and Time Warner. But other competitors don’t like that idea one bit. Here’s Steve Tripoli.
STEVE TRIPOLI: The deal’s been under review for a year and sports programming has been a big reason why.
Amy Maclean of the industry newsletter CableFAX says other pay-TV companies have been complaining loudly to regulators.
AMY MACLEAN:“You’ve got competitors such as DirecTV and EchoStar who argue that maybe a cable operator is trying to charge them more than they’re charging someone else.”
There’s a competitive issue here. If Comcast and Time Warner can withhold sports programming from other providers or charge them big fees, they could gain a price advantage in the war for customers.
Maclean says the competitors want the FCC’s help.
MACLEAN:“They want conditions on the merger that would insure that the cable operators are forced to offer competitive prices to everyone, and in fact they did get that.”
Maclean says competitors probably won’t get the deals they want in every market.
Comcast and Time Warner will also be trading off territories to cluster their Adelphia acquisitions in different regions. That’s going to make them even bigger fish in some markets than they are already.
I’m Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.
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