Senate Dems urge Justice Department to review Comcast bid for Fox

Senate Dems urge Justice Department to review Comcast bid for Fox
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A group of Senate Democrats are urging the Justice Department to scrutinize Comcast’s $65 billion bid to buy much of 21st Century Fox.

The senators wrote to Makan Delrahim, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, asking him to review whether Comcast would be able to use Fox’s entertainment offerings to suppress its competitors.

“In addition to horizontal concerns over local stations and regional sports programming, further consolidation that enhances and reinforces Comcast’s vertically integrated status as both a distributor and creator of media poses unique challenges, especially given that the merger would provide a majority stake in the streaming service Hulu,” the letter reads.

The letter was signed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders: Trump should confront Putin over Mueller probe indictments Midterms will show voters are tired of taking back seat to Wall Street McConnell: I won't be intimidated by protesters MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOn paper, Wilkie is the perfect candidate for VA secretary, but his qualifications go further Sacha Baron Cohen mulls arming toddlers with guns in inaugural episode Ocasio-Cortez to campaign with Bernie Sanders in Kansas MORE (I-Vt.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Mueller indicts Russians for DNC hack | US officially lifts ZTE ban | AT&T CEO downplays merger challenge | Microsoft asks for rules on facial recognition technology | Dems want probe into smart TVs Dems push FTC to investigate smart TVs over privacy concerns Hillicon Valley: Hacker tried to sell military docs on dark web | Facebook fined over Cambridge Analytica | US closer to lifting ZTE ban | Trump, Obama lose followers in Twitter purge | DOJ weighs appeal on AT&T merger MORE (D-Mass.).


Comcast declined to comment on the letter.

Comcast is currently in a bidding war with the Walt Disney Company over Fox’s entertainment holdings. Disney recently topped Comcast with a $71.3 billion offer.

The Justice Department has already signed off on that proposal on the condition that the combined company sell off some regional sports channels.

The senators wrote in their letter Wednesday that Comcast’s practices following a similar merger with NBCUniversal in 2011 show that the latest proposal merits a closer look.

“The need to protect consumers from the harmful effects of the proposed merger is evident in the numerous settlements with Comcast regarding past anticompetitive practices, such as the use of channel listings to prioritize its content over that of outside competitors and overbilling of customers,” they wrote.