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Klobuchar Will Hold Hearing on AT&T/DirecTV - Broadcasting & Cable

Klobuchar Will Hold Hearing on AT&T/DirecTV

Ranking member Lee says it raises consolidation concerns
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Senate Antitrust Subcommittee chairman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) says she will hold a hearing on AT&T's proposal to buy DirecTV.

She said the deal has the potential to "dramatically change" the TV marketplace. "I will hold a hearing to examine the effect this merger would have on competition, innovation, and the prices, choices, and service offered to consumers across the country," she said.

The concern over the deal was bipartisan. “The announcement of an additional merger in the telecommunications and media industry raises concerns about the level of consolidation in these markets,” said Judiciary ranking member Mike Lee (R-Utah). “At the same time, consolidation can benefit consumers in some circumstances. I look forward to carefully reviewing the evidence and examining the effect this transaction may have on consumer welfare.”

Fellow Democrat Sen. Al Franken had said earlier in the day there should be hearings, but it is standard procedure for judiciary to vet big mergers.

Also adding his concern from the Senate side was Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

“I am deeply concerned consumer choice may be undermined by the proposed AT&T– DirecTV deal," he said. "The proposed AT&T– DirecTV deal represents yet two more communications colossi combining into one even larger company, narrowing competition in the telecommunications marketplace. With the proposed Comcast–Time Warner Cable deal occurring at the same time as this new AT&T–DirecTV proposal, I fear the only competition consumers will have in their living rooms will be who handles the remote control."

Markey said he was looking forward to hearings on both deals.

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