If Comcast had any bitter feelings about the collapse of its Time Warner Cable merger, following today's announcement of a $55 billion Charter/Time Warner deal, it's not making them public. "This deal makes all the sense in the world," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement this morning. "I would like to congratulate all the parties." On the face of it, the statement seems surprisingly gracious, especially after Comcast spent more than a year fighting for regulatory approval in its attempt at gobbling up Time Warner Cable. But it's not hard to imagine Roberts making nice through gritted teeth. Comcast's merger was enormously unpopular by regulators and the public alike, primarily because it would have severely reduce competition by combining America's No. 1 and No. 2 cable providers. As the fourth largest cable player in the U.S., Charter has a much higher chance of its deal going through without raising monopoly alarms.So what's Comcast left to do? Most likely, it'll end up pursuing another cable provider. Cox, which is roughly equivalent in subscriber numbers to Charter, made it clear last year that it wasn't up for sale. But Comcast might have a shot at snapping up smaller players like Cablevision, or perhaps even striking a deal with AT&T or Verizon for their services.
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