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A Disney-Fox deal could easily pass regulatory muster, former FCC commissioner says

  • Monday's report of Disney-Fox talks quickly raised antitrust concerns.
  • Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell said the political moment could be just right for a deal this size.
  • A Republican White House could look to redefine media competition to better fit the era of "over-the-top" content distribution ushered in by Netflix.

Monday's report of Disney-Fox talks quickly raised possible antitrust concerns, but a former FCC commissioner said the potential deal would probably pass regulatory muster.

"It could go through — very much so," former FCC head Robert McDowell told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Tuesday.

To be sure, there's no guarantee that a deal between Disney and 21st Century Fox would ever come, but McDowell said the political moment could be just right for a deal this size.

"If you look through history, at this point early in an administration, in the first year of any new administration — especially when you have a change in parties at the White House — you have a lot of trial balloons floated," he said. "A lot of companies want to try to test the waters."

Republican administrations typically define competition in future terms, McDowell said, in contrast to Democratic administrations that tend to take real-time snapshots in evaluating the level of competition in an industry.

So a Republican White House could look to redefine what is considered a reasonably competitive landscape in media to better fit the era of "over-the-top" content distribution ushered in by Netflix, McDowell said.

"I think it's very doable, very approvable here," he said.