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 WarrenOn The Money: Senate approves 4B spending bill | China imposes new tariffs on billion in US goods | Ross downplays new tariffs: 'Nobody's going to actually notice' Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Warren joins Sanders in support of striking McDonald's workers MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWarren joins Sanders in support of striking McDonald's workers Kavanaugh allegations could be monster storm brewing for midterm elections      Senate approves 4B spending bill MORE (I-Vt.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Defense: Mattis dismisses talk he may be leaving | Polish president floats 'Fort Trump' | Dem bill would ban low-yield nukes Dems introduce bill to ban low-yield nukes Some employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report MORE (D-Mass.).

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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.