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Time Warner Cable's bid to buy Insight passes FCC muster

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 2:23pm
Mike Robuck

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission issued a memorandum order and opinion that gave its stamp of approval for Time Warner Cable to wrap up its purchase of Insight Communications.

Time Warner Cable didn't have a comment on the FCC's approval, but in last week's fourth-quarter earnings call, company executives said they expected the deal to close over the coming months.

The Federal Trade Commission cleared the deal in the fall of last year.

Time Warner Cable said in August that it was planning to purchase Insight Communications for $3 billion in cash to strengthen its Midwest footprint. Insight, which is the nation's ninth-largest cable operator, has systems in Louisville, Bowling Green and northern Kentucky; in parts of Columbus, Ohio; and in parts of Evansville, Ind.

The memorandum was signed by the FCC's Sharon Gillett, chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau; by Mindel De La Torre, chief of the International Bureau; and by Rick Kaplan, chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.

Among other items, the memorandum said that Time Warner Cable and Insight only competed directly against each other in Columbus for 2,600 homes passed.

"We have analyzed the potential harms and benefits of the proposed transaction," the FCC wrote in its conclusion. "On balance, we find that the potential public interest benefits, taken as a whole, outweigh the potential public interest harms. The combined company's broader service footprint, increased operating efficiencies, and greater scale and scope create a potentially stronger competitor to the incumbent LEC, especially in light of the combined company's ability to offer IP-based voice and other services to residential and business customers throughout Insight's three-state region. We find that this outweighs the potential harm that could arise from eliminating Insight as a competitor in the limited area in which both companies compete. Accordingly, we find that the transaction serves the public interest, convenience and necessity."

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