Clock Stops Again on Comcast-NBC Universal


Washington — The Federal Communications Commission has stopped the clock
on reviewing Comcast’s proposed deal for control of General Electric-owned NBC
Universal for a second time.

Last Thursday (June 24) had been day 50 on what is an informal 180-day deadline
for vetting the deal, under which NBCU would become a Comcast-controlled joint
venture. The review began March 18.

The commission says that the companies returned incomplete answers and did not
follow the directions in responding to a May request for information from both companies
on everything from organizational structure and channel lineups to copies of
all programming agreements and detailed discussions of all deliberations in making
content available online.

On June 24, the commission told the companies the merger review would stop until
they comply fully.

The first stoppage came April 16 (after only 29 days) so the companies could supply
reports on the economic benefits of the deal and on its impact on online content

“There were technical issues with the submission,” Comcast spokeswoman Sena
Fitzmaurice said, “and we will resubmit the information as requested as soon as

The stoppage does not affect the pleading cycle, which means that the next round
of comments are due July 21 and the replies Aug. 5.