Comcast Burned Through $32 Million While Lobbying For Time Warner Cable Merger

Had things gone to plan, Comcast would be celebrating the thumbs up by the Federal Communications Commission to proceed with its proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC). But it didn't go down that way. The merger received intense criticism and opposition from the get-go, and instead of giving Comcast the go ahead, the FCC said the matter had to be settled in court. That prompted Comcast and TWC to throw in the towel and count their losses, all 32 million+ of them.

Yes, the telecoms reportedly spent over $32 million lobbying Washington in hopes of approving the merger. And had they lobbying worked, it would have been a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. But it didn't, and so Comcast and TWC are out a lot of money, serving as yet another lesson that you can't always play the political system to get what you want.

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"Today, we move on," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. "Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away."

Comcast tried to the use the same strategy that proved success when it acquired NBCUniversal several years ago. However, it paid no attention to the fact that more recently AT&T also tried to blitz Washington in a failed attempt to acquire T-Mobile, serving as a sign that it's getting more difficult to game the political system, as least for mega corporations.

Had the deal gone through, the top two cable providers in the U.S. would have become a single entity. That's what spooked opponents to the deal -- there were fears it would disrupt the balance of the cable industry and give Comcast far too much negotiating power with TV programmers, thereby creating an uneven playing field.