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Comcast's Cohen to testify on Time Warner Cable merger

A Comcast sign is shown on the entrance to its store in San Francisco, California February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
A Comcast sign is shown on the entrance to its store in San Francisco, California February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

By Alina Selyukh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Comcast Corp's Executive Vice President David Cohen will testify at a hearing in the U.S. Senate on April 9 about his company's plans to buy Time Warner Cable Inc, a Comcast spokeswoman said on Thursday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold the first congressional hearing on the proposed $45.2 billion merger between Comcast, the No. 1 U.S. cable operator, and its biggest rival, No. 2 cable services provider Time Warner Cable.

Cohen is Comcast's top lobbyist and helped orchestrate the cable company's landmark acquisition of NBC Universal in 2011.

Comcast's proposed merger is subject to approval by the Justice Department, the antitrust regulator, and the Federal Communications Commission, which reviews whether deals are in the public interest. The two reviews will be launched after Comcast formally informs the agencies about the merger plans.

The filing with the federal antitrust regulators is now expected early next week, and the filing with the FCC early the following week ahead of the hearing, said Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice.

The scope of Comcast's proposed deal with Time Warner Cable has concerns among consumer advocates, although the cable provider has pledged to divest 3 million subscribers, so the combined customer base of 30 million would represent just under 30 percent of the U.S. pay television video market. A combined company would also have roughly one-third of the high-speed Internet market.

Comcast has said that its purchase of Time Warner Cable would not take away any existing choices from consumers, and would instead lead to faster broadband speeds and serve businesses better.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Chris Reese and Andre Grenon)

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