FTC Approves TCI-Comcast Bid For QVC

The Federal Trade Commission has closed its inquiry into TCI’s joint bid for QVC Inc., clearing the way for TCI and Comcast to close their $1.42 billion offer for QVC Monday night.

The FTC announced its decision late Friday after a unanimous vote by the four commissioners.

The FTC said after a “review of this matter, it now appears that no further action is warranted by the commission at this time. Accordingly, the investigation has been closed.”

The decision is a victory for TCI, which came under scrutiny because it also controls QVC’s main rival, Home Shopping Network. TCI had no comment Friday night.

In meetings with individual FTC commissioners last week, TCI lawyers argued that the FTC should consider the buy in the context of the entire shopping industry, including catalog sales and the growing retail services on the Internet, rather than just TV home shopping services.

The inquiry divided the FTC, where staff attorneys recommended action to stop the takeover, while the Bureau of Economics and Bureau of Competition recommended the deal be allowed to proceed.

The result is TCI’s second big victory before the FTC in the past two months. In early December the FTC approved TCI’s takeover of TeleCable Inc.

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