The Justice Department is close to taking a step toward blocking the $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner Cable mega-merger, Bloomberg reports. Attorneys in the department's antitrust division, tasked with reviewing the merger, may submit a report as soon as next week suggesting the department halt the deal.
THE FCC ALSO NEEDS TO APPROVE THE DEAL
If the recommendation is filed, it won't mean the Justice Department will immediately file a lawsuit to block the deal; officials at the department will still need to decide whether to sue. But according to Bloomberg, the department has been gathering evidence in the past few weeks to prepare in case a lawsuit is filed. What's more, the department reportedly won't consider a deal to approve the merger, even if Comcast agrees to regulatory conditions. The same goes for the FCC, which also must approve the deal.
Although Comcast was — and, at least publicly, is — bullish on approval, the prospects for the deal have looked increasingly less sure since the merger was first proposed in February 2014. Executives suggested then that the deal would be approved by the end of 2014, but the process has dragged. Now Comcast appears to be staring down a Justice Department considering a lawsuit, as well as an FCC that's proved itself open to strict regulation.