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Update: Sen. Kohl to hold antitrust hearing on Comcast-NBC Universal merger

Senate lawmakers will hold a hearing late this month or early February to review how Comcast’s $30 billion merger with NBC Universal could affect consumers and competition in the media and communications industries.

The Senate Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee will hold the hearing within the first few weeks after Congress returns Jan. 19, according to a source familiar with the committee’s plans. A final date hasn’t been determined for a hearing.

A Hill aide said that Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker are expected to appear at the hearing. Other witnesses would include a member of a consumer group and representative from a rival company, the Hill aide said.

The aide said the hearing will consider implications of the merger for consumers such as how it would affect monthly cable fees. Lawmakers will also focus on how the merger could affect Internet video distributors like Google's YouTube, Hulu or Vuze.

Comcast and NBC Universal will have to clear regulatory approval for their proposed union. Their merger will be reviewed by antitrust watchdogs at either the Federal Trade Commission or Justice Department. The Federal Communications Commission will review how the deal affects the public.

By Cecilia Kang  |  January 5, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Online Video  
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