PHILADELPHIA: Abernathy MacGregor Group is assisting Comcast with communications for its $45.2 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable.
Sard Verbinnen & Co. is supporting Time Warner on acquisition comms, according to Susan Leepson, group VP of PR and communications at the cable company.
Announced last Thursday, the deal would also see Comcast obtain Time Warner's approximately 11 million managed subscribers. Comcast president and CEO Neil Smit would lead the merged company.
Comcast also worked with Abernathy MacGregor during its negotiations to buy NBCUniversal in 2009, as well as its bid for Walt Disney five years earlier. Adam Miller, EVP at NBCUniversal, is an Abernathy MacGregor alum, joining the company from the firm in late 2010.
A number of media outlets have speculated that the Federal Communications Commission will examine the deal's potential impact on consumers. The merger would make the combined entity the country's dominant cable TV and Internet service provider.
Comcast has said it is prepared to divest 3 million subscribers, which would leave it with 30 million.
In a statement, Comcast said that “[the merged company] will generate multiple pro-consumer and pro-competitive benefits, including an accelerated deployment of existing and new innovative products and services for millions of customers.”
A merger would be subject to shareholder approval at both companies, as well as regulatory review. Both have said in a statement that they expect the deal to close by the end of the year.
It is “too early to tell” what impact the merger will have on either company's communications department, according to Time Warner's Leepson.
“We just inked this deal, so at this point, we do not know what the merged communications department would look like,” she said. “We are functioning as business as usual in hopes that the transaction will go through by the end of the year.”
Leepson could not say if layoffs will take place as a result of the deal. She did not disclose details about the company's communications strategy.
Last month, Leepson told PRWeek that Time Warner was working with Sard Verbinnen and had a communications strategy focused on stating the company's value, refuting misinformation, and running business as usual in response to Charter Communications' interest acquiring it.
Representatives from Comcast declined to comment but confirmed the company was working with Abernathy MacGregor on this deal. Staffers at the agency also declined to comment.
Comcast and Time Warner hosted conference calls with the financial community and journalists on Thursday to discuss the merger. The agreement follows Time Warner's rejection of a $37.3 billion bid from Charter Communications last month, a proposal that Time Warner called “grossly inadequate.” Kekst & Co. worked with Charter on the proposed deal.
Earlier this month, Time Warner reported a revenue increase of 5% to $8.57 billion in the fourth quarter. Net profit dropped to $983 million from $1.11 billion in Q4 2012.
Comcast's business, including NBCUniversal, grew 6.2% in the quarter to $16.9 billion year-over-year. The company's cable communications revenues were up 5.2% year-over-year to $10.7 billion.