Comcast Communications is set to pull out of its US$45.2 billion planned merger with rival US telco Time Warner Cable.
News first broken by Bloomberg suggests the company will today make a statement confirming it will no longer pursue the deal in the face of significant regulatory hurdles.
This comes after American media regulator the FCC recommended the deal face a procedural hearing that was expected to shoot down the tie-up.
Philadelphia-based Comcast, which houses NBCUniversal and the NBC broadcast network, has not yet commented on the record, but various news outlets are citing unnamed internal sources as confirming the plan to walk away.
TWC, Comcast’s smaller rival cableco, is desperate to keep the deal alive, as it attempts to scale up and improve its position in the US telco market.
The Financial Times reported that according to S&P Capital IQ, the end of negotiations would represents a bigger media M&A collapse since Comcast attempted to take over The Walt Disney Company in 2004, and the biggest fail in 16 years.
One factor said to have played into the FCC’s hearing recommendation is that Comcast has apparently failed to complete all the merger conditions of its 2011 deal to NBCU.
The hearings are considered as red flags in the states, as very few deals make it through the procedural process intact.
Should the deal fall through, questions over similar-sized mega-mergers such as DirecTV and AT&T will be raised.