Lawmakers eye pending merger


The pending merger of Gemstar and TV Guide has the potential to dampen competition among on-screen TV program guides, leaders of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee warned last week.

Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Herb Kohl (D-Kohl), the panel' s chairman and ranking Democrat, urged regulators to "carefully scrutinize" the deal. Allowing Gemstar, which holds key program-guide patents, to acquire TV Guide, a licensor of program-guide services, could diminish Gemstar' s willingness to license technology to rival program-guide providers, the lawmakers said in letters to Joel Klein, the Justice Department' s antitrust chief, and FCC Chairman William Kennard.