Claudia Higgins Quoted in The Deal

January 26, 2011

Claudia R. Higgins, Partner in the Washington, DC office, was quoted in an article in The Deal regarding the antitrust questions raised by Keith Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC. The article discusses the antitrust violations that might have occurred if Comcast had played any part in Olbermann’s departure before their merger with General Electric, NBC Universal’s parent company. Ms. Higgins commented, that under the antitrust laws, “merging companies always have to be careful about ceding control when companies are in a waiting game. The FTC and Justice Department watch it very carefully.” She explained that, while the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act bars competitors from acting jointly until a merger wins antitrust approval, “the second element of gun jumping can come from the principles of the Sherman Act,” which requires competitors to remain separate until the consummation of the deal. Ms. Higgins commented that, given the extensive legal counsel involved in the deal, she was skeptical that Comcast acted or would have acted, on Olbermann’s departure.

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