Comcast, NBC: Deal would not hurt competition

Thu, 01/28/2010 - 7:20am
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal say the cable company's plan to take control of NBC does not raise significant antitrust concerns because the businesses operate in separate and highly competitive markets.

In a 136-page document filed with the Federal Communications Commission Thursday, Comcast and NBC say the proposed transaction is a "vertical combination" that would not reduce competition in either the programming or distribution business.

Government reviews of the Comcast-NBC deal are expected to take up to a year. The companies filed paperwork with the Justice Department on Monday.

American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka had this to say regarding the FCC filing: “The American Cable Association intends to scrutinize fully the proposed transaction between Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal and will ask both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to protect consumers by ensuring that Comcast-NBCU does not have the incentive and ability to engage in anticompetitive conduct that results in higher rates and less choice for consumers.

“A month ago, Comcast-NBCU pledged to operate in a manner consistent with certain ‘public interest commitments.’ Because Comcast and NBCU drafted these public interest commitments on their own, it shouldn't shock anyone that they are totally porous and inadequate. One of the commitments calls for Comcast-NBCU to self-apply the FCC's program access rules to its TV stations. This ‘commitment’ isn't without irony, given that Comcast is asking a federal appeals court to tear up those rules and toss them in the wastebasket.”

– CED’s Traci Patterson contributed to this report

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