Bloomberg Business is reporting that the Comcast bid to buy Time Warner Cable will likely face opposition from staff attorneys in the antitrust division of the US Department of Justice. Such opposition could lead to a federal lawsuit against the merger, which would be a major setback for the proposed $45.2 billion deal.
The Bloomberg report says attorneys who have been investigating Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s proposed acquisition are "close" to recommending the merger be blocked "out of concerns that consumers would be harmed." Bloomberg's sources say the recommendation could be filed as early as next week.
A recommendation from staff attorneys is just one step in the process, however, and that would be reviewed by a deputy assistant attorney general for antitrust, who consults with other top DoJ officials on whether the agency should fill a lawsuit to block the deal.
According to Bloomberg, Justice attorneys have been trying to build a potential case for how the deal could harm popular video streaming services, which depend on broadband access to reach consumers. A combined Comcast/Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) would control 40% of the US broadband market.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading