Comcast abandoned its proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable on Friday morning, saying the deal had been structured in a way that if the U.S. government didn’t agree, the companies could walk away.
The deal had faced vocal criticism from some politicians, media company executives and diverse consumer and industry groups, who worried it would create a monolith with too much control over what Americans do online and watch on TV.
“Today, we move on,” said Comcast (CMCSA) Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.
“Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away,” he added.
The merger would have combined the nation’s two largest cable operators, although Fortune has reported the deal wasn’t a must-have from the beginning. As for Time Warner Cable (TWC), there is speculation it will end up merging with another player. Charter Communications (CHTR) is often named as a possible suitor.
There is also speculation Comcast itself could remain on the hunt, as it would be well positioned to go on an acquisition spree for smaller companies.