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 WarrenTop Sanders adviser: Warren isn't competing for 'same pool of voters' Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall In shift, top CEOs say shareholder value not top goal MORE (D-Mass.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersTop Sanders adviser: Warren isn't competing for 'same pool of voters' Eight Democratic presidential hopefuls to appear in CNN climate town hall Top aide Jeff Weaver lays out Sanders's path to victory MORE (I-Vt.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies 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.