EXCLUSIVE: The Secret Calls Leading Up to the Comcast–Time Warner Deal

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 13 2014 10:37 AM

EXCLUSIVE: The Secret Calls Leading Up to the Comcast–Time Warner Deal

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Comcast's corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.

Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Comcast has agreed to purchase Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, merging America's No. 1 and No. 2 cable providers. Slate has exclusively acquired the last phone calls between the company's two CEOs leading up to this landmark deal.

COMCAST CEO BRIAN ROBERTS: Hello? Is anyone there?

TIME WARNER CABLE CEO ROBERT MARCUS: Hello, thank you for holding, Mr. Roberts. This is Time Warner Cable CEO Robert Marcus. What can I help you with today?

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COMCAST CEO: Jeez, Robbie, that was a hell of a long hold. Do you always —

TWC CEO: I’m sorry about the wait, Mr. Roberts. What can I help you with today?

COMCAST CEO: Rob, our $36 billion offer still stands. What do you say?

TWC CEO: Are you referring to our Valentine’s Day Triple Play Special?

COMCAST CEO: No. We want to buy you for $36 billion.

TWC CEO: Well, for $79 per month, you can get our Valentine’s Day Triple Play Special.

COMCAST CEO: I’m not interested in the Triple Play Special. The offer is $36 billion. How does that sound?

TWC CEO: Mr. Roberts, because it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I can offer you our Triple Play Special, with our premium high-speed Wi-Fi and over 200 HD channels, for just $79 per month for your first 36 months. How does that sound?

COMCAST CEO: This is an acquisition, Robert. 

TWC CEO: Lee Daniels’ The Butler and World War Z are just two of the hit films available on demand, when you want them, if you act now.

COMCAST CEO: Is there someone else I can talk to?

TWC CEO: You can talk to anyone with our Triple Play Package: All domestic and international calls are free, starting at just $79 per month for the first seven months.

COMCAST CEO: Look, Bob, our finance guys have been through this. The paperwork is ready. What’s your answer?

TWC CEO: Oh, for that, you're going to need to talk to our billing department. Just a moment, I’ll transfer you.

COMCAST CEO: No, I—

57 MINUTES LATER

TWC CEO: Hello, thank you for holding, this is Time Warner Cable CEO Robert Marcus. What can I help you with today?

COMCAST CEO: Seriously? I thought you were transferring me to someone else!

TWC CEO: Mr. Roberts, how can I assist you?

COMCAST CEO: The acquisition.

TWC CEO: Absolutely, I can help you with that. And, Mr. Roberts, who am I speaking with today?

COMCAST CEO: This is—Look, we’re prepared to increase our offer to $39 billion. Do you accept or not?

TWC CEO: Mr. Roberts, I’m going to level with you: You’ve never heard a voice call as crystal-clear as the one you’ll hear if you sign up for our Triple Play Package, which includes blazing fast Wi-Fi …

COMCAST CEO: I’ll call back.

THE NEXT DAY

TWC CEO: Hello, this is Time Warner Cable CEO Robert Marcus, how can I help you today?

COMCAST CEO: Bob, it’s Brian. $42 billion.

TWC CEO: OK, I can be at your offices between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. ...

COMCAST CEO: No, we’re not doing that.

TWC CEO: ... on Oct. 12 ...

COMCAST CEO: We can courier the documents to you.

TWC CEO: ... in the year 2018.

COMCAST CEO: The courier is on his way.

TWC CEO: Mr. Roberts, Oct. 12 in 2018 just filled up for us. How does Christmas in 2047 look?

COMCAST CEO: It looks like I’ll be dead by then.

TWC CEO: Did you know that if you lock in your rates for our Triple Play Package now, you can pass them along to your heirs in your last will and testament?

COMCAST CEO: The courier will be there shortly. Just sign the papers.

THE NEXT DAY

COMCAST CEO: Rob, the courier said that you weren’t at your office all day yesterday. He waited until 8 p.m.

TWC CEO: Well, that’s funny, because I came by your office at 2 p.m. to sign the papers, and you weren’t there, either.

COMCAST CEO: I was in my office all day!

TWC CEO: Are you sure? I banged on your door at 2 p.m. Like, hard.

COMCAST CEO: I was in my office at that time.

TWC CEO: I really knocked very loudly. And I called your cellphone three, maybe four times.

COMCAST CEO: I don’t have any missed calls from you.

TWC CEO: Well, maybe it’s time you got a landline! Did you know that with our Triple Play Package—

COMCAST CEO: $45 billion. Take it or leave it.

TWC CEO: Brian, you’ve got a deal. And I’ve got great news!

COMCAST CEO: What’s that?

TWC CEO: Any acquisition package of over $44.5 billion comes with unlimited free calls to Puerto Rico!

COMCAST CEO: Well, that’s great, actually, I have family in San—

TWC CEO: Oops, actually, I see this offer just expired. Can I interest you in our Comcast Triple Play?

Jason O. Gilbert is the senior editor of Yahoo Tech.

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