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Comcast's DreamWorks purchase to face China antitrust review

Friday, September 2, 2016 - 16:13

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China will conduct an antitrust review of Comcast Corp's US$3.8 billion purchase of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc, a move that threatens to set back the US media giant's plans to bolster its library of animated films and characters.

[BEIJING] China will conduct an antitrust review of Comcast Corp's US$3.8 billion purchase of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc, a move that threatens to set back the US media giant's plans to bolster its library of animated films and characters.

"We will probe into the case based on anti-monopoly laws," Shen Danyang, spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce, said at a briefing in Beijing on Friday. 

Authorities received complaints that the deal could threaten competition in the Chinese market, said the spokesman, who didn't identify the source of the objections.

China can block foreign deals it deems to threaten competition, though it rarely does so.

That was the case two years ago, when the ministry blocked the formation of a global alliance by the world's three biggest shipping lines - none of them Chinese - even though the agreement had been approved by US and European regulators.

Representatives at Comcast and DreamWorks didn't respond to requests for comment after regular US business hours.

Comcast, which owns Universal Pictures, said last week it completed the acquisition.

In June, the company said the US Justice Department cleared the purchase after finding no threat to competition.

Though neither Comcast nor DreamWorks break down their earnings from China, both are counting on growing demand from the country, which is on its way to overtaking the US as the world's biggest box office by as soon as next year.

Comcast is also building a multi-billion-dollar theme park in Beijing.

At the briefing, the commerce ministry also said it's probing the proposed merger between Uber Technologies Inc and local champion Didi Chuxing.

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