Comcast-Time Warner Review Won’t Be Led by Antitrust Head

Comcast Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. won’t be reviewed by the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Bill Baer, who is recused on the matter, the U.S. said.

Baer previously represented NBC Universal as a lawyer in private practice at law firm Arnold & Porter LLP when Comcast merged with the network in 2011, according to court documents.

The investigation of the Time Warner deal will be overseen by two senior officials at the antitrust division, Renata Hesse and David Gelfand, Gina Talamona, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement.

Talamona said in an interview that Baer’s recusal is due to work on a previous matter while in private practice and declined further comment.

Baer became head of the antitrust division in January 2013. Under ethics rules set out by the Obama administration, officials must refrain from interacting with former employers or clients for two years from the time they take office.

Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner last month for $45.2 billion in stock in a deal that combines the two largest U.S. cable companies.

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