Jack Donaghy had better cancel his Christmas break. NBC and Kabletown, er, Comcast, have announced that they don’t expect regulators to finish their review of the planned acquisition of the broadcaster by the cable giant until next year. The two companies still expect the deal to go through.
According to Reuters:
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 December 31 closing.”
Consumer advocates, including Consumerist parent Consumers Union, have raised concerns that the deal would result in fewer options and higher fees for cable customers. “This deal has serious problems that have struck a chord with a lot of consumers, including Comcast customers,” Parul P. Desai, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said recently. “This is a bad deal because it would give Comcast powerful incentives to withhold NBC content from competitors and drive up prices for cable TV and Internet. The combination of Comcast and NBC would be a media giant with great potential for abusive behavior. In this economy, consumers should not be at risk of bigger bills for cable and Internet service.”