Justice Department Warns It Will Keep an Eye on Comcast

Aug 30, 2018  •  Post A Comment

The U.S. Department of Justice intends to continue to scrutinize Comcast Corp. even after the antitrust restrictions placed on the company with its takeover of NBCUniversal expire Sept. 1, Bloomberg reports.

“The department’s antitrust division wrote a letter to Comcast this month warning that it would continue to monitor developments in how the company handles TV programming and distribution,” the story reports. “It also asked for notice by Wednesday of any changes that the cable giant plans to make when the decree runs out on Sept. 1, according to the Aug. 14 letter, which was obtained by Bloomberg News.”

The company’s acquisition of NBCU was approved by regulators more than seven years ago. “But a so-called consent decree with the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission imposed conditions designed to protect the emerging online-video market,” Bloomberg notes.

The report quotes Makan Delrahim, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, saying in the letter: “The department retains jurisdiction to enforce the antitrust laws and takes its obligations seriously. We would appreciate your cooperation in keeping us informed by providing the department with any plans you may have to change your policies or practices involving video programming and distribution.”

The report adds: “The NBC order was the kind of merger settlement that the Justice Department has since largely abandoned as a tool to resolve competition concerns stemming from deals. Delrahim has criticized settlements like NBC’s for being too regulatory because they impose conditions that require regular [monitoring].”

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