Comcast’s failed acquisition of TWC cost a third of a billion dollars

comcast pledges better customer service 20 credit hires 5500 reps van
Mergers, even failed ones, are expensive. That’s one of the big takeaways from Comcast’s Q1 2015 earnings report, which revealed that the cable giant’s unsuccessful attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable cost $336 million, all told. That obviously wasn’t spent overnight — it accounts for the total accumulation of “transaction-related costs,” the company told investors — but for a buyout that ultimately proved fruitless, the sum is an undeniably substantial one.

Breaking it down, Comcast noted $99 million was spent on the merger in the first quarter of 2015, $99 million in Q4 2014, $77 million in Q3 2014, $44 million in Q2 2014, and $17 million in Q1 2014. The $336 million figure, the company said in its earnings report, effectively accounts for all costs through the end of March of this year.

Time Warner Cable didn’t escape unscathed, either. It reported $200 million in “merger-related and restructuring cost” over roughly the past year, including $24 million in the Q1 2015. Last year, TWC spent $195 million on merger-related expenditures — about $50 million per quarter.

A majority of Comcast’s money went to lawyers and consultants, Comcast VP of Government Communications Sena Fitzmaurice told Ars Technica.  “The costs are mainly for legal fees and outside consulting firms — everything from Human Resources and IT consulting to banks and management consulting service,” she said. Time Warner Cable also spent big on “legal and advisory fees,” but reserved a good chunk for expenses related to employee retention.

The numbers may sound gargantuan out of context, but Comcast saw a net income of $2.1 billion in the first three months of this year alone. Time Warner Cable (TWC), the smaller of the two, still brought in $458 million over the same period.

Exactly what Comcast is planning to do with the $45.2 billion it pledged to spend on the TWC buy is anyone’s guess, but perhaps the company will use it to expand its recently announced “Gigabit Pro” broadband plan, a 2Gbps offering for both downloading and uploading which kicks off next month in Atlanta. In what can be read as an effort to outbuild and outperform Google’s Fiber initiative, a 1Gbps offering that has been slowly expanding since its debut in Kansas City, Comcast has expressed plans to expand the service’s reach to 18 million Americans by the end of the year.

There are certainly other areas in need of improvement, as well. Comcast might consider extension of service into more rural areas of the country, for example, or improving the brand’s notoriously poor customer service experience for which it’s received page upon page of bad press. But those are just possibilities, of course — Comcast management knows best.


Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…
Movies & TV

MoviePass returns to unlimited movies plan, but with plenty of restrictions

Troubled subscription-based movie service MoviePass is making headlines on a daily basis lately, and not in a good way. Here's a timeline of events for the company once described as Netflix for movie theaters.
Home Theater

Tipping point? Streaming subscribers outnumbered cable in 2018 for first time

2018 was a very good year for the entertainment business as a whole, but it was especially good for streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon, says a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.

T-Mobile goes after big cable companies, pilots wireless home internet service

In a shot at big cable companies, T-Mobile is launching a new pilot program to bring an unlimited wireless LTE home internet service to up to 50,000 homes across the United States by the end of 2019.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Banish the bunny ears (and monthly bills) with these excellent HD antennas

When transitioning away from cable and satellite, finding the best HDTV antenna for your area can be tricky. To aid in your cord-cutting quest, we've compiled our picks of the best indoor HDTV antennas you can buy.
Home Theater

Yesterday’s Apple event was a whiplash-inducing parade of copycat services

Apple showed off a massive barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its Showtime event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Any night can be a night at the movies with the best home theater projectors

Are you sick and tired of those cumbersome big screen TVs? Don’t want to spend big for a huge TV? These home theater projectors will bring you that big screen experience without breaking the bank.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Home Theater

5 gorgeous turntables that spin stacks of wax in style for less than $500

Vinyl records are awesome, but they're also finicky. To get the best out of your stacks of wax, it's best to play them on a quality turntable. Here are the best turntables to be had for under $500.
Home Theater

Apple’s show time event: A whiplash-inducing bundle of copycat services

Apple unleashed a barrage of news, streaming, and gaming bundles at its latest event aimed at boosting its services and adding more revenue. But while the services are big on celebrities, they appear short on innovation.
Home Theater

All three of LG’s new soundbars will be available before summer

LG finally announced pricing and availability to the three soundbars it announced at CES 2019. They will come out in April or May of this year (depending on the model) and will retail between $400 and $1,300.
Home Theater

IKEA reveals new photos of its Symfonisk Sonos speakers

Ahead of the official launch scheduled for April 9, IKEA has released two new photos of its upcoming Symfonisk line of wireless home speakers, which the Swedish furniture company has created in cooperation with Sonos.