FCC pauses shot clock on Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger

The Federal Communications Commission on Monday paused its review of a proposed $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable after finding a number of documents had been improperly withheld.

The review will restart on Jan. 12 after the agency has time to look over the newly discovered documents. 

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In a letter to the companies, the FCC's Media Bureau noted that more than 7,000 documents the FCC had requested were improperly withheld from Time Warner Cable, citing attorney-client privilege. Another 31,000 documents did not reach the FCC because of a vendor error, the FCC added. 

The FCC said the "magnitude of the errors" would force it to re-examine new documents and reconsider prior analyses that were based on incomplete information. 

The merger review is in its 104th day of an informal 180-day shot clock. The clock had just restarted earlier this month after it had been delayed over a separate dispute about confidential business documents. 

The deal to merge the two largest U.S. cable companies must be approved by the FCC and Justice Department before it can be finalized. Regulators must determine the deal is in the public interest and does not harm competition.