What the Comcast-Time Warner Merger Means for Philly

The nation's biggest business story has local ramifications.

Comcast’s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable is the biggest story in the nation right now, so big we can’t possibly bring you all the news and analysis that exists about it. Instead, we’ll start with NewsWorks, doing the right thing and treating it like a local story:

The merger will make Philadelphia’s Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, an even bigger force in delivering cable and broadband services to tens of millions of U.S. homes.

Roberts said the deal will also generate about $1.5 billion in operating efficiencies. He wouldn’t elaborate on whether that meant job cuts — except for saying this: “It does put a lot of people’s lives and careers [in flux] and there’s uncertainty. And that’s just one of the reasons we always hope the review is as expeditious as possible.”

“Any time that Comcast and Time Warner Cable talk about synergistic efficiencies, what they’re talking about is laying off staff,” said Susan Crawford, a visiting professor at Harvard who focuses on telecommunications policy.

And since you need crews out in the field to do all the customer service jobs, it’s headquarters-type jobs that are going to go. Will most of them go from the home company, or the newly bought-out company?

The New York Times examines how the deal might pass the scrutiny of regulators. David L. Cohen, Ed Rendell’s former right-hand man and now Comcast vice president, is key:

But many in Washington say that Mr. Cohen, a veteran of Philadelphia politics, is Comcast’s secret weapon in trying to persuade government regulators to sign off on the deal.

Mr. Cohen has close ties to President Obama, perhaps even closer than Comcast’s chief executive, Mr. Roberts, who has golfed with the president on Martha’s Vineyard.

A major Democratic fund-raiser, Mr. Cohen and his wife hosted Mr. Obama at their Philadelphia home in 2011, raising $1.2 million at an event where the president called the couple “great friends.”

Mr. Cohen also was a guest at the White House on Tuesday for the state dinner in honor of President François Hollande of France.