Penalty Box

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Comcast CEO Brian Roberts will pay a $500K civil penalty to settle charges he violated premerger reporting and waiting requirements when he acquired Comcast voting securities. “Comcast and Mr. Roberts appreciate the acknowledgement by the Federal Trade Commission that this was a technical and inadvertent violation that was self-reported, promptly corrected, and did not involve any financial gain to the company or to Mr. Roberts. We take very seriously our obligations to comply with all aspects of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and working with our lawyers we have put in place additional safeguards to ensure that an inadvertent violation does not occur in the future,” Comcast said. The HSR Act imposes notification and waiting period requirements on individuals and companies over a certain size before they consummate acquisitions resulting in holding stock or assets above a certain value (currently $66mln). According to a complaint filed by DOJ‘s Antitrust div, at the request of the FTC, Roberts failed to comply with the antitrust premerger notification rules of the Act before acquiring voting securities of Comcast as part of his compensation as chmn/CEO beginning in Oct ’07, which resulted in him holding more than $119.5mln of Comcast stock. He made a corrective filing for Comcast voting securities he acquired in Aug ’09. It’s the 1st time he has been charged with an HSR Act violation, but he had made corrective filings twice previously, asserting that the failures to file and observe the waiting period we inadvertent.

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