Comcast Today: A Shower of Money in D.C.

Comcast and its rivals in the tech industry sure are pouring a lot of cash into Washington D.C.

TechCrunch reports: “The dollars flowing into the Capitol from tech companies are showing little signs of abatement: Google spent $3.8 million on lobbying in the first quarter, AT&T $3.7 million, Verizon $3.5 million, Comcast $3.1 million, Facebook $2.8 million, Microsoft $2.1 million, Time Warner Cable $1.9 million, Oracle $1.5 million, Apple $1.1 million, and Amazon $830,000.”

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3 Reasons Republicans Shouldn’t Worry About the Comcast Merger

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Suddenly, Republicans are worried about media consolidation. And it’s hilarious.

The GOP, you see, is very nervous about Philly-based Comcast and its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. The Washington Free Beacon — a conservative publication — this week ran an article featuring conservative fears that the merger could be bad for democracy.

The argument goes like this:

  •  The merger would result in a single company that dominates the market for local TV advertising: Following the merger, Comcast would own majorities in cooperatives that sell local ad time to national, regional, and local advertisers.
  •  Comcast execs give most of their political donations to Democrats.
  •  Thus, Comcast might very well skew the advertising market to Democrats, raising ad rates for Republicans and giving their buddies the pick of the limited ad crop.

“Given that Comcast owns some control of each aspect — national, regional, and local — they could actually grant favors to particular political candidates,” an anonymous advertising executive told the publication.

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Comcast Today: Earnings Are Up

It’s good to be the king.

Forget the onslaught of opposition to its merger with Time Warner Cable: Today’s earnings report shows that Comcast has a pretty nice business going — for now — even without adding the nation’s second-biggest cable system to its holdings.

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Comcast Today: Washington Post Cautiously Endorses Merger

Today’s Comcastic headlines:

Washington Post cautiously endorses Comcast-Time Warner merger: Some merger supporters overstate the extent of competition the cable industry faces. At the moment, there are few broadband services as attractive as the wired connections cable companies sell. That might change, but it is not clear how fast and in what way. Merger defenders also downplay the conflicts of interest that might encourage firms such as Comcast to promote their products on the wires they own, about which critics are speculating. That is not grounds to take the severe step of blocking a proposed merger. But it is reason for federal regulators to keep a close eye on what cable companies, still huge players in how we communicate and consume culture, end up doing to competitors and upstarts — and to set clear conditions that allow a crackdown, if necessary. (Washington Post)

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Comcast Today: Merger Faces Washington Skepticism

Comcast takes it’s merger case to Washington today. It’s going to be controversial. Let’s check the headlines:

Comcast Gears Up to Persuade Regulators: Comcast presented regulators on Tuesday with 650 pages of reasons to approve its takeover of Time Warner Cable, saying a merger of the two largest cable television companies would spur rather than inhibit competition by encouraging rivals to improve their cable and high-speed Internet service. Comcast is not relying on legal filings alone to try to win what is expected to be a bruising battle with the deal’s opponents. The company has already been busy briefing lawmakers and their staffs, particularly from the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings on Wednesday to examine the proposed merger’s antitrust implications. Comcast also recently added to its small army of lobbyists two former legislative aides who advised the Judiciary Committee on antitrust matters. (New York Times)

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Comcast Today: Comcast Will Spend $2.5 Billion on Stock Buybacks

Comcast shareholders: It may be your lucky day….

Bloomberg reports:

Comcast Corp. is planning to increase its share buyback program by more than 80 percent if investors approve its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc., boosting shareholder returns.

Comcast will add $2.5 billion to the current plan for $3 billion in 2014 buybacks if shareholders vote for the deal, Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said in an interview. A planned sale of assets to complete the deal may produce cash for even more repurchases, he said.

Comcast’s shares rose as much as 2.1 percent to $50.39 after Bloomberg News reported the buyback proposal. The shares gained 1.1 percent to $49.88 at 9:51 a.m. in New York.

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