At a glance
Comcast’s scrapped $45Ã¢ Â¯billion deal for Time Warner Cable is a high-profile example of a failed deal, but it doesn’t crack the list of the 10 largest.
It’s not even the biggest scuttled takeover attempt of a company named Time Warner. That distinction belongs to an unsolicited, $79.6 billion bid for Time Warner Inc. made by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, according to financial data provider Dealogic.
Time Warner Inc. spun off Time Warner Cable Inc. in 2009.
Here is Dealogic’s list of the 10 largest failed deals globally, with the price, acquirer, target and year things fell apart.
•Ã¢ Â¯$144.97 billion: BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto Plc, 2008
•Ã¢ Â¯$117.35 billion: Pfizer Inc., AstraZenca Plc, 2014
•Ã¢ Â¯$97.92 billion: MCI WorldCom, Sprint Corp., 2000
•Ã¢ Â¯$90.96 billion: Barclays Plc, ABN Amro Holding NV, 2007
•Ã¢ Â¯$82.34 billion: Deutsche Telekom AG, Telecom Italia SpA, 1999
•Ã¢ Â¯$79.6 billion: 21st Century Fox Inc., Time Warner Inc., 2014
•Ã¢ Â¯$71.41 billion: American Home Products Corp., Warner-Lambert Co., 2000
•Ã¢ Â¯$58 billion: Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton (Western Australian iron ore assets), 2010
•Ã¢ Â¯$56.25 billion: BellSouth Corp., Sprint Corp., 1999
•Ã¢ Â¯$54.7 billion: Comcast Corp., Walt Disney Co., 2004
NEW YORK – What killed Comcast’s $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable? Regulators’ desire to protect the Internet video industry that is reshaping TV.
A combination of the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. cable companies would have put nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof, along with NBCUniversal, giving the resulting behemoth unprecedented power over what Americans watch and download.
Competitors, consumer groups, and politicians have criticized the deal, saying it would lead to higher prices and less choice.
“The proposed merger would have posed an unacceptable risk to competition and innovation, including to the ability of online video providers to reach and serve consumers,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a written statement.
The Justice Department said Comcast dropped its bid because of regulators’ concerns that the Philadelphia cable giant would become an “unavoidable gatekeeper” for Internet services.
One of the concerns consumer advocates and competitors had with the Comcast deal was that it could undermine the streaming video industry.
Comcast could, for example, require onerous payments from new online-only video providers for connecting to its network.
Dish, the satellite TV company behind the new Web video service Sling TV, and Netflix opposed the deal.
“It goes to show you how important broadband is,” said Amy Yong, a Macquarie analyst.
Regulators have taken other steps that signal how important they consider Internet access. The FCC in February released net neutrality rules meant to keep broadband providers from charging Internet companies for “fast lane” access or favoring some content. The broadband industry has sued to stop the rules.
“We have to live with it, and respect that, and move on,” said Brian Roberts, Comcast chairman and CEO, referring to the government’s opposition to the deal.
“We always structured this deal in a way that would enable us to walk away,” he said during an interview on CNBC.
Comcast does not owe Time Warner Cable a breakup fee because the deal didn’t work out.
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