While, as surmised several weeks ago, the odds of this deal falling apart had climbed above 50-50, but the speed of its collapse over the past week and a half took everyone by surprise.
That’s because, until Justice and the FCC started leaking where they were heading on the deal, key participants were fighting, clinging to the notion they could successfully leverage political clout to get through the ordeal.
When the feds began dropping big hints that resistance was futile and in no one’s interest, Comcast got the message and moved to save face as best they could. Smart.
Ironically, I believe TWC comes out of this in a much stronger position than they had going in 18 months ago, this is not only because their stock value has appreciated significantly, but also because Comcast has been neutralized as an unstoppable force in dictating the evolution of the industry. A very big and key recognition.
According to sources, many key players had formulated a pretty clear roadmap for how the industry was going to proceed when this closed this week with dominoes falling in several directions on the assumption this deal was going to go through.
Now a new consensus will have to be reached following a new round of horse trading, this is especially good for TWC now occupying a significant seat at the strategic table.
I’d expect TWC to take advantage of the collapse of the Charter/Bright House deal to make its own bid for Bright House, which would then make its acquisition by Charter a much bigger deal or, in the event TWC can’t get the price it wants from Charter, leave TWC in a stronger position with Bright House in the fold vis a vis the other top tier operators.
Rutledge and Malone have a very different takes on how to evolve in IP migration, technically and strategically, than what Comcast does, so we’ll now see greater opportunity for vendors than before in their efforts to contribute support for that migration.
Overall, this is a very good development from PADEM’s clients perspective. The key thing now is to keep on top of the evolving scenario and make sure all of your clients too stay on the mind’s of industry strategists as they sort through tech options.
Waiting for the dust to settle on the deal-making front may slow things down a bit in the near term, but it will be a more open, competitive and profitable market.