Brian Roberts Defends Time Warner Merger

Comcast CEO now making the case for his company.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts stepped forward Wednesday to defend his company’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, suggesting concerns that the merger would result in reduced competition are overblown. CNBC reports:

“They’re in New York. We’re in Philadelphia. They’re in LA. We’re in San Francisco,” said Roberts, from the Re/code Code conference in Rancho Palo Verdes, California. “You can’t buy a Comcast in New York. You can’t buy a Time Warner in Philadelphia. So there’s no reduction in competition in broadband or in television.”

In terms of broadband, Roberts said the acquisition would still be governed by existing federal rules.

“We support an open Internet and having rules, the right kind of rules that are legally enforceable and allow for investment and innovation,” he said. “But that also gives consumers great confidence that they can do what they want to do, and they’re never going to be slowed down. They’re never going to be blocked. Some of the things that we’ve read that are scaring people have not ever been, for 20 years, how we’ve had our most successful business selling broadband.” adds: “‘Our judgment was the company was going to be sold and if we wanted New York and Los Angeles, it was now or never,’ Roberts said. The company was trying to move beyond a persistent perception of it as a “regional cable provider” that hampered deals with potential partners such as Reed Hastings of Netflix in years past. Even with the big 2010 acquisition of NBCUniversal still being digested, the company needed to move fast with its $45.2 billion offer for TWC, which is still under regulatory review.”

Broadcasting & Cable says Roberts also criticized the New York Times for editorializing against the merger: “Roberts said he did not think the paper’s opposition would make the deal harder to sell and suggested that the paper’s reading of the marketplace was off base. “They got a lot of facts that I think they didn’t quite look at right.” For example, he said, NYT’s comparison of the deal to creating a company akin to the pre-breakup AT&T. “In the days of AT&T there was only one phone company,” he said. “It is truly an antiquated notion to say there is not competition in video.”