There's been a melding of cable titans as Comcast announced it will to completely buy out Time Warner Cable.
Comcast revealed it picked up its former rival in a $45.2 billion stock deal that will merge the two largest cable providers in the United States.
Through the merger, Comcast will absorb Time Warner Cable's approximately 11 million managed subscribers. TWC owns cable service spread across the country, from New York City, Southern California, Texas, the Carolinas, Ohio and Wisconsin.
With the combined reach of the two companies, they are poised to become a pay-TV giant with approximately 30 million subscribers.
More than cable
For consumers, the merger agreement between Time Warner Cable and Comcast has no immediate repercussions ... yet.
But Comcast promised in its release that with "this merger, more American consumers will benefit from technological innovations, including a superior video experience, higher broadband speeds and the fastest in-home Wi-Fi."
Beyond expanding its network of cable entertainment, Comcast will also now have access to Time Warner's 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots located primarily in Los Angeles and New York City. This mobile network will most likely help mobile users access Comcast's Xfinity app on the go.
Evolving cable entertainment
The merger continues Comcast's strategy to build itself up beyond a traditional cable television company and into a broadband and media powerhouse.
Obviously with the two companies together, they will gain more leverage in negotiation with network broadcasters.
Importantly for consumers, Comcast plans to incorporate the DVR technologies of the two services together.
Comcast wants to take on Time Warner's Start Over feature, which allows customers to restart a live program and view programs from as long as three days ago without needing a DVR.
Previously the cable company bought out a majority stake of NBC Universal. With the purchase, Comcast snagged NBC's most-valued channels including USA, Bravo, SyFy, CNBC and MSNBC. All extra original content that helped Comcast launch its Xfinity Streampix service to become a streaming entertainment rival to Netflix.
The merger is subject to shareholder votes at both companies as well as regulatory approval. If everything is A-OK'd, the deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
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