Comcast said on Wednesday that its $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable will take longer than expected because of a regulatory review dragging on. The country's largest cable company wants to buy Time Warner Cable Inc., the No. 2 cable provider, to create an Internet and TV giant that would serve nearly 30 percent of cable TV subscribers and more than half of high-speed Internet subscribers, writes A.P. The Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department are still reviewing the deal, which was announced in February 2014. Consumer advocates have expressed concern that Comcast would have control over too much of the country's Internet access. Comcast said in a blog post Wednesday that it now expects the FCC's review to finish in the middle of the year. It had predicted the deal would close in early 2015. The FCC has delayed its review because of a court case that is pending.
"Given the FCC's recent decision to pause the shot clock, we have recently reassessed the time frame when we expect the government's regulatory review to be completed and now expect that the review should be concluded in the middle of the year," Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen said in the post, according to Reuters.
One major cause of delay has been a dispute between big TV channel owners and the FCC over the confidentiality of programmers’ contracts with Comcast and other pay-TV providers, notes the Wall Street Journal. AT&T Inc.’s $49 billion deal for DirecTV has also faced delays in the review process due to this dispute, which is playing out in D.C. federal court. In February, the court heard arguments in the case, but it hasn’t yet issued a decision. Comcast has said that the court case is a “procedural matter” unrelated to the merits of its TWC deal.