Comcast/NBC Universal deal delayed, waits approval

*Comcast, NBC Universal eye January close

*Companies previously aimed for 2010 close

By Paul Thomasch

NEW YORK, Dec 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Comcast Corp’s (CMCSA.O: ) NBC
Universal purchase will be delayed until at least next month,
with federal regulators taking longer than the companies had
hoped to sort through the deal.

NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker, who will leave
the company once the deal is completed, circulated a memo to
staff on Wednesday saying: “We have made substantial progress
this month with both the FCC and the Department of Justice, and
expect that we will get a ‘green light’ in January.”

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, confirmed the
delay. It had initially hoped to close the transaction this
year.

“Because of the lead time required to prepare for a close,
it now appears that we will not be able to close the
transaction with GE relating to NBC Universal by year-end,” a
spokeswoman said in a statement. “We have notified our
transition teams that there will not be a Dec. 31 closing.”

Comcast revealed its bid to buy a controlling stake in NBC
Universal from General Electric Co (GE.N: ) more than a year ago
to create a $30 billion business including broadcast, cable
networks, movie studios and theme parks.

Regulators from the U.S. Department of Justice and the
Federal Communications Commission have been examining several
areas of contention, including online video, program access and
program carriage, sources have said. [ID:nN16160542]

Regulators are concerned that Comcast could be in a
position to stifle the fledgling online video market if it
assumed partial control of Hulu, a joint venture of NBC
Universal, News Corp (NWSA.O: ) and Walt Disney Co (DIS.N: ).

They also want to prevent Comcast from anti-competitive discrimination with the wealth of programming and networks it
would own once the deal closed, including leading networks like
USA, Bravo and MSNBC.

Under terms of the deal, Comcast is buying a controlling 51
percent stake from GE.
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

Comcast/NBC Universal deal delayed, waits approval