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Democrats Want to Investigate Disney/Fox Deal

The leading Democrats on the Senate and House anti-trust sub-committees have sought hearings related to the proposed buyout of a substantial part of 21st Century Fox by Walt Disney Co. The mega deal, close to $52.4 billion will give Disney control of Fox properties including its film and TV studio, cable networks as well as regional sports channels, things that the officials consider to lead into a harmful monopoly.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary anti-trust sub-committee, mentioned the deal as “another industry-changing merger, which would have major implications in television, film, and media.” She confessed that she felt “concerned about the impact of this transaction on American consumers.” She has requested Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who happens to chair the sub-committee and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, to fix a hearing.

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The list of concerned officials is joined by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), the ranking member of the House Judiciary’s anti-trust sub-committee. He stated that America faced a “monopoly moment” and cautioned about the future implications.

“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,” Cicilline claimed. “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.”

The deal is conditional to approval from federal lawmakers. Disney owns media outlets such as ABC and ESPN and will now own Fox’s cable entertainment business including FX Networks and National Geographic, international TV businesses and also a 30 percent share in Hulu. Before the acquisition is over, Fox plans to spin-off the Fox Broadcasting network and the local stations such as Fox News, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a brand new entity called New Fox. The two companies expect the legal process to be wrapped up in 12-18 months’ time.