Dish Chairman: Comcast, Time Warner deal to cause 'seismic shift'

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 21, 2014 2:27 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dish Networks Inc Chairman Charlie Ergen said the proposed merger between Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc will cause a "seismic shift" in the media business and his company is considering how to respond.

Ergen said the transaction would concentrate broadband, video and content in a "nationwide player."

"That's going to send a seismic shift across our industry in ways that maybe we can't predict today," he said on Friday on a conference call after the satellite TV provider released quarterly earnings.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator, said on February 13 it had agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal for $45.2 billion. The proposal faces reviews from U.S. regulators who will study its effect on competition.

Comcast has argued the combination would not reduce competition because the two cable providers do not compete in any markets.

Ergen said he disagreed. "I think it's incorrect that Time Warner and Comcast don't compete," he said. "They certainly do. As an example, they compete for content. And when they can combine and go buy content, they can go buy content cheaper than anybody else."

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Andrew Hay and Richard Chang)