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Comcast/NBCU: The FCC Provides a Roadmap for Vertical Merger Analysis

Jonathan B. Baker, Antitrust Magazine, Vol. 25, No. 2, Spring 2011

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The FCC’s analysis of the Comcast-NBCU transaction fills a gap in the contemporary treatment of vertical mergers by providing a roadmap for courts and litigants addressing the possibility of anticompetitive exclusion. The FCC identified the factors any judicial or administrative tribunal would likely consider today in analyzing whether a vertical merger would lead to anticompetitive input or customer foreclosure, and a range of economic methods potentially relevant to applying that template to the facts of a transaction. Notwithstanding the difference between administrative adjudication under a public interest standard and judicial decision-making under the Clayton Act, the legal framework and economic studies the Commission employed promise to influence the approach that antitrust tribunals will now take in evaluating vertical mergers.

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