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Justice Department Interviews Disney, CBS on Comcast Merger

Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen and Time Warner Cable Inc., Executive Vice President and CFO Arthur T. Minson Jr. / AP
• July 14, 2014 1:37 pm

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The Justice Department is interviewing media companies such as Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. to determine whether the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger will be anticompetitive for the industry, Bloomberg reports.

Media companies have raised concerns that Comcast—which already purchased NBC Universal in 2011—could favor its own programming over that of its competitors if the merger is approved:

The Justice Department has been looking at most-favored-nation clauses, which stipulate that pay-TV operators such as Comcast can match subsequent deals networks get for their programming, for at least two years. In 2012, the antitrust division sent civil investigative demands, similar to subpoenas, to DirecTV and Dish Network Corp. about the agreements as part of a broader probe into whether pay-TV companies were squeezing out Internet-video competitors, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News at the time.

Other providers who oppose the merger, including Netflix Inc. and DISH, say Comcast could extract lower prices from programmers to air their content and crowd out smaller competitors. Consumers would also pay more, the companies argued.

Comcast has extensive ties to the Democratic Party and has donated more than half of its political contributions, or about $18 million, to the party’s candidates since 1989.

Published under: Comcast