updated 10:35 pm EDT, Sun August 14, 2011
TWC to reduce competition with Insight deal
Time Warner is about to try and consolidate the cable industry further by buying Insight, a last-minute leak brought out Sunday night. The deal would buy Insight out from the Carlyle Groupe for $3 billion and absorb the cable provider's debts. Final bidding had wrapped up at the start of the July, WSJ said, and the new deal was just Insight reaching a promised target of picking a winning buyer within a month's time.
Most of the other known bidders were other cable providers, such as Cablevision, Mediacom, and WideOpenWest. Time Warner had managed to become the exclusive candidate in July and would only have opened bidding back up again had it backed out.
Final terms were supposedly being wrapped up Sunday night with a deal going public as soon as Monday. Neither of the involved parties has confirmed the deal.
The acquisition won't necessarily affect inter-market competition. Most cable Internet providers in the US have effective monopolies as they usually only have either one major DSL or fiber-based competitor, or are virtually unopposed.
If accurate, however, the buyout could raise concerns about further consolidation in TV and Internet access in the US right as regulators are more closely watching the industry. The FCC is in the midst of enacting its net neutrality rules and designed the rules for wired Internet access to prevent companies like Time Warner Cable from hindering competing services, especially Internet audio and video services. A union between TWC and Insight also follows just several months after the approval of the Comcast-NBC deal, which itself reduced choices in media even with terms meant to protect Hulu and other sources.