Not everyone is happy with the Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox studios announced earlier this week. The Writers Guild of America issued a statement at the end of the week attacking the deal, stressing concerns that it is in conflict with antitrust laws.
In the relentless drive to eliminate competition, big business has an insatiable appetite for consolidation. Disney and Fox have spent decades profiting from the oligopolistic control that the six major media conglomerates have exercised over the entertainment industry, often at the expense of the creators who power their television and film operations. Now, this proposed merger of direct competitors will make matters even worse by substantially increasing the market power of a combined Disney-Fox corporation. The antitrust concerns raised by this deal are obvious and significant. The Writers Guild of America West strongly opposes this merger and will work to ensure our nation’s antitrust laws are enforced.
And the WGA isn’t the only ones with that concern.
Variety is reporting that several congresspersons in both the House and Senate have expressed concerns.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, said that the proposed transaction was “another industry-changing merger, which would have major implications in television, film, and media. I’m concerned about the impact of this transaction on American consumers.
Klobucher has reportedly reached out to subcommittee chairperson Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah)and Judiciary Committee chairperson Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) requesting the scheduling of a hearing to review the merger’s legality. No such hearing has been scheduled, however.
While no Congressional approval is needed for the Disney – Fox deal to go through, it most likely will be reviewed by the Justice Department for potential violation of anti-trust laws. However, the AT&T -Time Warner merger that almost happened last year did receive a hearing, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see one happen here. That acquisition is potentially being scuttled by the Justice Department, who is suing to stop the deal on the grounds that the country’s largest television distributor and one Hollywood’s leading studios would have a negative impact on consumers and competition.