Justice Dept. staff may oppose Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal: Bloomberg

Fri Apr 17, 2015 4:56pm EDT
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By Jennifer Saba and Malathi Nayak

(Reuters) - Staff attorneys at the Justice Department's antitrust division are nearing a recommendation to block the proposed $45 billion merger of Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

A spokesman for Time Warner Cable questioned the report, saying the company had been working productively with both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission.

"We’ve had no indication from the DoJ that this is true," the spokesman said.

Bloomberg said that Justice Department attorneys investigating the deal are citing concerns for consumers as they lean against it. Their review could be handed in as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. (bloom.bg/1CUPx9V)

The final decision would be made by senior officials.

Time Warner Cable shares closed down 5.4 percent at $149.61 on the New York Stock Exchange while Comcast shares ended down 2.1 percent at $58.42 on Nasdaq.

A source close to Comcast said that discussions with the DOJ had been positive and that the Federal Communications Commission was still gathering material from companies, making it early for any discussion of conditions for a deal.

The FCC, which as well as the Justice Department is reviewing the deal, earlier this month paused the informal countdown toward its decision as it awaited a court ruling related to how it should handle disclosures of some documents.   Continued...

Pedestrians walk past the Time Warner Cable headquarters in New York February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Joshua Lott