Proposed Comcast deal huge for Michigan TV market


Comcast-logo“Crain’s Detroit Business” is reporting a $45 billion acquisition proposed by Comcast Corp. that could completely reshape the Michigan cable TV market, in the process affecting thousands of local jobs, hundreds of thousands of customers, tens of millions of dollars in local asset investments, and various community programs.

The Federal Communications Commission last month started its 180-day review clock on the all-stock acquisition deal for Philadelphia-based Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) to buy New York City-based Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Comcast still hopes to close on the deal by year’s end.

But to appease federal regulators, a side deal for Comcast to shed 3.9 million customers and come in below a 30 percent market share among U.S. cable households after the acquisition will mean turning over nearly all its Michigan customers to a new, as-yet-unnamed public company formed by St. Louis-based Charter Communications.

A fixture of the northern Michigan cable market, Charter as yet has no presence in Southeast Michigan and will completely replace the local market leader. Comcast, which houses a headquarters for its Heartland region of cable and Internet service division in Plymouth, currently has about 4,400 Michigan employees and had about 1.2 million cable and Internet customers statewide at the end of 2009, the last time such figures were made available.