Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable, Inc said on Friday they had abandoned their proposed $45 billion merger after U.S. regulators said the deal would give Comcast an unfair advantage in the Internet-based services market.
The Department of Justice said the plan to merge the two biggest U.S. cable companies would have made Comcast an "unavoidable gatekeeper" for broadband services.
The deal had faced vocal criticism from some politicians, media company executives and diverse consumer and industry groups, who had worried it would create a monolith with too much control over what Americans do online and watch on TV.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said on Friday that the merger would have posed an "unacceptable risk to competition and innovation."
The U.S. cable TV industry has been rapidly consolidating in the past few years as it grapples with the rising popularity of satellite TV and Web-based entrants such as Netflix, Inc.
"Today, we move on," Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in a statement.
Comcast shares were up 1.3 percent at $59.99 in premarket trading, while Time Warner Cable shares were up 0.83 percent at $149.99.