Comcast merger sparks response from Hatch

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Orrin Hatch, member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate, sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust William J. Baer, outlining his views on the competition considerations that should inform consideration of the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger.

After identifying objections raised by merger opponents, Hatch wrote:

The proposed Comcast-TWC merger does not raise sufficient competitive concerns to warrant blocking the merger. If Comcast and TWC have any competitive overlaps, those overlaps can be resolved through divestitures and other conditions. If new facts come to light that affect the above analysis, any resulting concerns can also likely be resolved through appropriate conditions.  In sum, as I evaluate the proposed merger, and the objections lodged thereto, there appears to be no reasonable basis in existing law to prevent the merger.

On net neutrality, Hatch wrote:

I have long opposed such regulations on the grounds that they are unnecessary and would hinder the continued growth of the Internet and the technology sector.

I am deeply concerned about the potential of the government to use the merger review process to extract unnecessary net neutrality concessions or to strong-arm companies seeking (or considering) merger review into supporting net neutrality regulations. It would, in my view, be highly inappropriate for either agency to use the threat of challenge or delay to extract concessions unrelated to actual anti-competitive effects. I urge the Commission and the Department of Justice to abide their statutory mandates and to not turn the merger review process into an opportunity to impose a controversial, unwise, and ultimately unnecessary regulatory agenda upon merging parties.

Resources

  • The full letter can be found here

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Submitted by the Offices of Sen. Orrin Hatch

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