Washington – Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) has petitioned the
Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to place
conditions on their prospective approval of Comcast (NASD: CMCSA) and NBC Universal’s (NYSE: GE)
proposed venture, including requiring Comcast to divest its stake in video
portal Hulu within a year, Broadcasting & Cable reported. Kohl, who chairs
the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, noted in the letter that the deal "has
the potential for serious anticompetitive and anti-consumer effects."
to the Hulu divestiture, Kohl is seeking concessions that both companies won’t
discriminate against competitors and independent producers on their combined
platform, and consent to binding arbitration in retransmission disputes.
also argues for a condition that access to NBC content online not be tied to
subscribing to a particular cable TV provider.
In an official response, Comcast
called its proposed venture with NBC Universal "pro-competitive,
pro-consumer and in the public interest."
The FCC is slated to re-start
its examination of the deal next week, while the Justice Department’s review is
(Broadcasting & Cable)
(DMW previous coverage)