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US: Media firms take FCC to court amid merger reviews

 |  November 11, 2014

Several television channel owners have reportedly filed an emergency stay of the Federal Communication Commission’s order for detailed information regarding their contracts as the FCC continues its review of two major communications mergers.

Reports say media companies including Viacom, Time Warner, Walt Disney and CBS asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the FCC’s demands for that information on Monday. The FCC is seeking that information for its ongoing review of Comcast’s plans to acquire Time Warner Cable and AT&T’s plans to acquire DirecTV.

The FCC argues that those contracts should be available for third parties and are crucial to adequately reviewing the two deals. Third party commenters on the deal could use that information to determine Comcast’s market power, for example, the FCC says.

But the TV channel owners argue that the contracts contain market sensitive information that could place them at a disadvantage if used for the wrong reasons. “The release of this information will cause substantial, irreparable harm to Petitioners and the highly competitive programming marketplace in which they operate,” the companies said in their court filing.

The documents are set for release on Thursday unless the appellate court grants the stay.

Full content: Wall Street Joutnal

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