Democrats on the Senate and House Antitrust Subcommittees Call for Hearings on the Disney/Fox Deal

On Thursday, Disney announced they’d be acquiring a large portion of 21st Century Fox including its film and TV studio, some cable networks, and some sports networks. The deal is priced at $52.4 billion.

Some have called into question the merger for numerous reasons including its impact on consumers, creators, and the job loss due to the merger. That questioning now includes some elected officials and Democrats in the Senate and House antitrust subcommittees have called for hearings on the deal.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in statement said:

This week we have seen the announcement of another industry-changing merger, which would have major implications in television, film, and media. Yesterday, Disney announced that it is acquiring 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, cable entertainment networks, and international television businesses. I’m concerned about the impact of this transaction on American consumers.

As the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, I have asked Senator Lee, who has worked closely with me in this area in the past, and Chairman Grassley to schedule a hearing on the proposed merger so that there is appropriate oversight over the antitrust review process.

Klobuchar is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee.

Klobuchar has also asked Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), who chairs the subcommittee, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the Judiciary Comittee, to schedule a hearing on the proposed deal. Lee and Klobuchar in October called for a hearing regarding the AT&T and Time Warner merger.

The House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has called for a closer look at the deal and in a statement:

Another day, another mega-merger. Disney’s proposed purchase of 21st Century Fox threatens to put control of TV, movie, and news content into the hands of a single media giant.

If it’s approved, this merger could allow Disney to limit what consumers can watch and increase their cable bills. Disney will gain more than 300 channels, 22 regional sports networks, control over Hulu, and a significant portion of Roku.

America is in a Monopoly Moment. We need more competition than before, not less, to create an economy that has more choices and innovation, lower prices, and better jobs. The House Antitrust Subcommittee should look at this proposal very closely.

In the deal, the companies said the regulatory process would take up to 18 months and that review would likely be by the Justice Department. No Congressional approval is needed.