Senators Seek DOJ Vetting of Possible Comcast-Fox Meld

Some high-profile media consolidation critics in the Senate have called on the Department of Justice's antitrust division to conduct a thorough review of Comcast's bid for Fox assets.

Comcast does not have a deal yet--it is in a bidding war with Disney -- but the senators are not waiting for a victor.

Related: So Much Winning in This Bidding War

They tied that review request to the September sunset of Comcast-NBCU's net-neutrality deal conditions. They said that while DOJ has signaled that Disney's divestiture of regional sports networks could resolve its antitrust issues with that deal, it has not proposed any conditions on a potential Comcast buy.

“Comcast will soon be completely unfettered from the federal oversight that has imposed at least a minimal set of safeguards against anticompetitive behavior.” they wrote to antitrust chief Makan Delrahim. “The current bidding war over Fox’s assets is occurring amid industry-wide consolidation, as media and telecom companies grow bigger through mergers and acquisitions of video content. We were concerned that Comcast’s customers could bear the burden of such an acquisition, with little benefit to them or the video market.”

Signing on to the letter were Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.