The Beneficent Monopolist

Allen P. Grunes

The Konkurrenz Group

Maurice E. Stucke

University of Tennessee College of Law

March 26, 2014

Competition Policy International, April 2014, Forthcoming
University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 239

In examining Comcast's proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), we assess three of the arguments Comcast likely will make to the Department of Justice and FCC. Comcast will likely argue that its acquisition of TWC is unlikely to lessen competition because: (a) the broadband market is becoming more competitive: Google has introduced Google Fiber in a number of markets, and mobile broadband offered by wireless providers like AT&T and Sprint is competitive with fixed broadband; (b) Netflix and traditional media companies have sufficient clout to negotiate with Comcast and the government should not intervene on their behalf; and (c) the “wide array of FCC and antitrust rules and conditions from the NBCUniversal transaction in place . . . more than adequately address any potential vertical foreclosure concerns in the area of video programming.”

We argue that notwithstanding Comcast’s and TWC’s assertions, combining two monopolies does not yield better service, lower retail prices, more innovation, and greater choices for consumers. Nor should the DOJ and FCC simply extend the prior behavioral remedies to this merger. Behavioral remedies are a poor substitute for market competition. Comcast and TWC have not overcome the presumption of illegality for this merger and are unlikely to do so. As was the case with AT&T/T-Mobile, DOJ should just say no.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 16

Keywords: Antitrust, Monopoly, Monopsony, Broadband, Cable, Mergers, Buyer Power

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Date posted: March 28, 2014 ; Last revised: April 8, 2014

Suggested Citation

Grunes, Allen P. and Stucke, Maurice E., The Beneficent Monopolist (March 26, 2014). Competition Policy International, April 2014, Forthcoming; University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 239. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2416565

Contact Information

Allen P. Grunes (Contact Author)
The Konkurrenz Group ( email )
5335 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20015
United States
202-644-9760 (Phone)
Maurice E. Stucke
University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )
1505 W. Cumberland Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States
865-974-9816 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.utk.edu/people/maurice-e-stucke/

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