Comcast responds to merger critics
Comcast on Monday responded to some critics of its proposed merger with NBC Universal, saying the merger isn't as big as those firms are making it out to be and that current rules in place suffice to protect consumers.
Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen said in a blog post that the company has received lots of support for its proposal. Monday is the deadline for the Federal Communications Commission's first round of public comments for its merger review.
But concerns voiced by critics (read this earlier post on opposition from labor unions, public interest groups and media firms), are overdone, Cohen said.
He said some critics have called for conditions to ensure Comcast doesn't prioritize its own content or block competitors from getting NBC or Comcast shows and movies. If the FCC applies any new program access rules, they shouldn't be done for just the merged company, Cohen said.
"Some commenters, including certain competitors and programmers, appear to be attempting to use the transaction review process as an opportunity to seek advantages and concessions outside of marketplace negotiations. We believe these efforts should be rejected," he said.
"Several commenters expressed concerns about how the program access rules work. If those rules need to be fixed, the appropriate place to fix them is in general FCC proceedings that apply to all companies, not by putting discriminatory restrictions on the new Comcast/NBCU," Cohen said.
He said it was also a "myth" to describe the merger as unprecedented in its size and scope.
"This is simply an inaccurate exaggeration. This deal is not even among the top five telecom and media transactions the government has reviewed (e.g., AOL/Time Warner $165 billion; AT&T/Bell South $67 billion; SBC/Ameritech $62 billion; AT&T/MediaOne $58 billion; Bell Atlantic/GTE $53 billion)," he said.
June 21, 2010; 3:05 PM ET
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