– The U.S. Justice Dept. will take the lead in the government’s review of
Comcast’s (NASD: CMCSA) proposed $30 billion deal to take over NBC Universal, according to
published reports. While antitrust approval from the Justice Dept. will be
needed in order for the deal to proceed, it will also be reviewed by the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Under the terms of the deal, which was
announced in December, Comcast and NBC Universal would merge into a joint
venture, with Comcast owning 51% and NBC Universal 49%.
General Electric (NYSE: GE), which
currently controls NBC Universal, would be entitled to sell off its stake in the venture over the next seven years.
The proposed deal has drawn
criticism from a range of public-interest groups, who argue that Comcast,
already the nation’s largest cable TV provider, would gain undue control over
the distribution of video content.