Representatives of Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc are preparing to meet U.S. Department of Justice officials to discuss competition concerns raised by the planned $45 billion merger of the two cable giants, the Wall Street Journal reported. The meeting next Wednesday would aim to negotiate possible concessions addressing those concerns, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. The paper said it would be the first time the two cable giants have met with regulators since announcing their proposed deal a year ago. Staffers at both the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission remain concerned the combined company would have too much power in the Internet broadband market and would have unfair competitive leverage against TV channel owners and businesses offering online video programming, the Journal said. News of the planned meeting followed a report by Bloomberg on Friday that staff attorneys at the Justice Department's antitrust division were nearing a recommendation to block the deal. A source close to Comcast said on Friday that discussions with the DOJ had been positive and that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was still gathering material from companies, making it early for any discussion of conditions for a deal. The Bloomberg report said Justice Department attorneys were citing concerns for consumers as they lean against it and their review could be handed in as soon as next week. In its report on Saturday, the Journal said the Justice Department and the FCC were nearing the final stages of scrutinizing the deal. Discussions on potential remedies to concerns would be an indication that the two agencies had not yet made a firm or final decision on the merger, the paper said. But it added the meeting could be the first of many and said it was not clear whether the companies could offer concessions that would satisfy the regulators.
About the author
Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University