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Comcast, Time Warner Cable To Meet With DOJ on Merger

Comcast and Time Warner Cable will meet with officials at the Department of Justice on Wednesday to discuss their proposed merger.

The news comes after a Bloomberg story on Friday reported that DOJ attorneys were preparing to recommend that the Antitrust Division block the $45 billion merger. (A Variety source says the meeting was already on the books).

Comcast also denied a report that it may walk away from the merger if regulators impose a condition in which they must abide by the FCC’s recently passed net neutrality rules, which are under a legal challenge by the telecom and cable industries. The FCC is reviewing the proposed merger in addition to the DOJ.

“Any report that Comcast has decided anything related to potential conditions on the TWC deal is unequivocally false,” a Comcast spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are fascinated to know how any source can purport to know what we have supposedly decided about a request that has never been put to us, that we have not discussed with the commission, and on which we have taken no position in any forum.”

Comcast has continued to meet with officials at the FCC even though the agency has stopped its “shot clock,” a 180-day timeline of its review, as it awaits a decision from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on a request by major media companies that would block third parties from reviewing confidential programming contracts.

Companies that have been critical of the merger, like Discovery Communications, have been submitting documents to the FCC, responding to queries from the agency that have to do with negotiating carriage for their video programming. It’s expected that the FCC will focus heavily on the impact that the merger will have on the growing market for over-the-top video programming in its review.

Some Wall Street analysts have downgraded their prospects for the merger gaining the government greenlight, while Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who opposes the merger, wrote an op-ed for TechCrunch in which he said that he has “new hope” that the merger will be blocked.

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