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Comcast-Time Warner deal being probed by multiple states, including Ohio

By David McLaughlin and Sophia Pearson
Bloomberg News

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Comcast Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. is being probed by at least six states that have joined a federal review of whether the deal violates antitrust laws.

The attorneys general of Ohio, Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Maryland are reviewing the $45.2 billion deal that was announced last month, their offices said today.

The Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission are also reviewing the takeover, which would combine the two largest U.S. cable companies. Comcast plans to divest about 3 million subscribers of the combined company to keep its market share below 30 percent.

The attorneys general enforce state antitrust laws and can put pressure on the Justice Department to seek tougher conditions if they think the government isn’t being aggressive enough, Paul Gallant, a managing director for Guggenheim Securities, said in a research note today.

“In practice, states rarely diverge from DOJ,” Gallant said. “So as long as DOJ approves this merger, states are highly likely to do the same.”

Florida and Pennsylvania were part of a group of states that joined the Justice Department’s lawsuit last year seeking to block the merger of AMR Corp. and US Airways Group Inc. The companies settled the lawsuit by agreeing to sell slots and gates at different airports.


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