Last updated: March 20, 2010 - 9:46am
Media billionaire John Malone said fee disputes between U.S. broadcasters and cable-television operators will force companies to combine to gain negotiating clout.
"The biggest distributors have some leverage in that negotiation because they can do damage," Malone, 69, said yesterday in an interview. "The smaller distributors are going to be pretty powerless to protect themselves from getting creamed, so it's going to lead to more consolidation." Cablevision could gain scale by merging with Time Warner Cable, bolstering its influence, said David Joyce, an analyst at Miller Tabak & Co. in New York. "If the Comcast-NBC deal can get done without the FCC or DOJ neutering any of the positives in that combination, then there's any host of other media merger combinations that could make sense," said Joyce. Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp., the biggest U.S. cable operator, agreed to take over broadcast and film company NBC Universal last year.
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