Comcast said it would be willing to shed customers to secure its buyout of Time Warner Cable, and today it's backing up those words with (tentative) deeds. The media behemoth has reached a deal that will see it offload 3.9 million subscribers -- mostly in the Midwest, check after the break to see where -- if the merger goes through. About 1.4 million of those would go to Charter; the remaining 2.5 million will go to a spin-off company where Charter will have a one-third stake (Comcast shareholders own the rest). The move should keep Comcast under 30 percent of the TV market and make Charter the second-largest cable provider in the US. In theory, that's good news for those worried that Comcast would carry too much industry clout if it gets TWC under its belt.
However, this all assumes that regulators approve the acquisition in the first place -- and the deal doesn't address larger competitive issues. Public advocacy groups and internet media providers like Netflix still believe that a post-merger Comcast would have too much say over what products succeed in the marketplace, letting it restrict services that compete with its own offerings. Without answers to these concerns, the company may not be much closer to completing its takeover.
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