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China: Comcast faces antitrust probe over $3.8Bn DreamWorks deal

 |  September 15, 2016

Comcast has now come to the attention of Chinese antitrust officials for its $3.8 billion acquisition of the animation studio DreamWorks.

The DreamWorks deal, which closed in August, gives Comcast a planned theme park in Shanghai and greater access to the Chinese movie market through the Kung Fu Panda movie franchise and Oriental DreamWorks, a joint venture with Chinese partners that circumvents foreign film quotas.

Comcast also plans a Universal theme park in Beijing — a project reaffirmed by Steve Burke, chief executive of its NBCUniversal unit, in a presentation at an investor conference on Wednesday. NBCU releases films in China through Universal Pictures.

In a market as huge as China’s, economic experts say, Comcast does not pose an anti-competitive threat. The investigation seems to be economic saber-rattling on the global stage, foreign-policy observers say, and a Chinese poke in the ribs of a politically powerful US company at a time when relations between the United States and China have cooled.

Chinese officials think “American movies and TV shows are like a hidden front to pollute Chinese minds,” said James Lewis, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Full Content: Philly

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