US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is hopping mad that Comcast COO Brian Burke has already named his management team for when the cable giant takes over NBC Universal. Franken has asked the US Department of Justice to investigate whether Comcast’s recent actions constitute what’s known as “gun-jumping,” or illegal collaboration between pre-merger companies.
Franken noted that the Comcast announcement of a slew of executive appointments came despite an earlier assurance to federal regulators that it would not announce further personnel changes “until the deal closing process and timing is certain.” The Senator says nothing is certain about the closing yet and Comcast’s actions may improperly influence management of NBCU under current owner General Electric.
“The Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission have yet to complete their review of the proposed Comcast and NBC Universal merger. And yet, by publicly announcing their intended managers of each component of NBC Universal, Comcast has effectively told employees at NBC Universal who their ‘real bosses’ are…Comcast has every right to promote its business and this merger. It does not have the right to effect that merger absent explicit federal approval, or indirectly control or influence NBC Universal until that approval is granted,” Franken said in a letter to Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Antitrust Division.
The complete letter is attached to this page as a three-page pdf.