Comcast-NBC Universal Merger Gains FCC Approval
The marriage of content producer NBC Universal and content deliverer Comcast is nearing, with the FCC saying Tuesday in a 4-1 vote that the complicated union of the two companies can go forward.
The Justice Department cleared the merger of any possible anti-trust regulations. Both sets of federal regulators have thrown on some conditions on the merger. While the conditions have not been publicly released, here's a sampling from various media reports.
- Comcast-NBCU must post NBC content on any third-party video websites that its competitors such as CBS and ABC do.
- Comcast-NBCU must make its content available on rival cable companies.
- Comcast-NBCU must not punish advertisers who deal with its competitors
- Comcast-NBCU must keep al similar cable channels close together, meaning NBC channels such as MSNBC and the Golf Channel can't sit in front of the cable channel line-up while CNN and ESPN are relegated to much lower slots.
- Comcast-NBCU must treat all content passed through its cables equally for at least seven years.
- Comcast-NBCU must offer Internet-only service for $49.95 a month for three years.
Comcast and NBCU reached a deal in December 2009. When the deal is completed at the end of January, it will mark the first time that a cable company owns a broadcast network.
Comcast would acquire a 51 percent stake in General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal from GE by paying $6.5 billion in cash and contributing cable channels valued at $7.25 billion to a joint venture that will own the entertainment company....Comcast acquire the NBC television network, broadcast stations, cable channels such as MSNBC and USA Network, a library of more than 4,000 movies, and part ownership of the Hulu online video service...
Paris-based Vivendi SA will sell its 20 percent stake in NBC Universal as part of the deal.