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Government Backing Off From Its Probe Into the Comcast-NBCU Merger

Dec 28, 2018  •  Post A Comment

In a move that deals a blow to Donald Trump’s long-standing opposition to the merger between Comcast and NBCUniversal, the Department of Justice has decided not to ramp up its investigation into the seven-year-old acquisition, The New York Post reports.

“The DOJ said in August it was still monitoring Comcast’s activities even though a consent decree in which it agreed not to withhold NBC programming from rival cable companies or video streaming services was expiring in September,” The Post reports. “Nevertheless, federal prosecutors have failed to file a so-called civil investigative demand for company records that would mark a stepped-up investigation and have no plans to do so — effectively clearing the regulatory cloud that has long hung over the deal, according to sources.”

The report quotes a source close to Comcast saying: “Nothing is happening. I think if the DOJ were going to take action, it would have happened by now.”

The Post adds: “The DOJ is backing off partly because it fears it wouldn’t get a favorable hearing from US Judge Richard Leon, who approved the merger in 2011, sources said. That’s because Leon appears miffed over the DOJ’s recent appeal of his June approval of AT&T’s merger with Time Warner — a deal which, also against Trump’s wishes, allowed the companies to retain ownership of CNN.”

The report notes that the American Cable Association asked the DOJ on Nov. 12 to open an investigation into Comcast, prompting a tweet from Trump saying the trade group said Comcast “routinely violates Antitrust laws.”

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