Comcast shares slip after Trump alleges company 'routinely violates antitrust laws'

Fox’s Gasparino Trump privately refers to Comcast as ‘public enemy No. 1

When the DOJ and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the merger of Comcast and NBCUniversal in 2011, they were concerned the merger would post a threat to competition, which is why they only approved the merger with a set of guidelines governing Comcast-NBCU.

The ACA argued that monitoring Comcast and NBCU isn't enough.

'ACA expects - and there is every reason for DOJ (Justice Department) to expect - Comcast-NBCU to act on its natural incentives and use its capabilities to harm rivals, unless the government somehow, either through structural or behavioral remedies, deals with them, ' the group said in its letter.

The DOJ has appealed the AT&T-Time Warner merger over concerns that the merger will inhibit competition.

"While monitoring by DOJ is certainly a step in the right direction, such a passive approach is unlikely to be effective against a sophisticated, giant firm like Comcast-NBCU", ACA stated in the letter from organization president and CEO Matthew Polka. The ACA cites a recently closed merger between AT&T and Time Warner - which the Trump administration is still appealing - and claims Comcast's market power is a great threat than AT&T-Time Warner. Both AT&T-Time and Comcast-NBCU are vertical mergers, meaning that the deals involve the combination of a content producer with a content distributor.

The letter was addressed to Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division, and a hawk on antitrust issues. His office still hopes to reverse the court's decision in favor of AT&T's, and he needs a win.

No response has yet come from the DoJ but a tweet from President Donald Trump shows the case has his support.

"The video programming and distribution markets are incredibly competitive", Comcast said. New programmers and distribution platforms are offering consumers increasing choices on what and where to watch.

'At Comcast NBCUniversal, we are competing in this dynamic environment the way we always have - by continuing to innovate and conducting our business in compliance with antitrust laws and other legal requirements, ' the company said in a statement.

Among other things, Comcast Cable has brought Netflix and YouTube to our X1 platform.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. And NBCUniversal has provided content to Hulu, Netflix, and hundreds of other traditional and over-the-top providers.

"We believe that ACA's letter is without merit and constitutes an inappropriate attempt to gain leverage in the commercial marketplace", Comcast said in a statement to CNBC.

Comcast is a part owner of Hulu, along with Disney and 21st Century Fox. With some of the biggest media companies holding a piece of the pie, Hulu is shaping up to be the most hotly-contested property in streaming.

The American Cable Association (ACA), in a letter sent to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim dated November 6, said that Comcast's acquisition of NBCU was more harmful than AT&T's $85 billion Time Warner merger, which was approved this past June.

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