More than a year after it was first proposed, the Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Department of Justice have signed off on the Comcast-NBC Universal deal. The takeover will go into effect January 28, following the company’s next pay cycle.
With the deal complete, Comcast will control 51% of the company, with General Electric becoming a minority shareholder.
The deal’s approval means that NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker will be leaving the company, though his last day has not yet been announced. Zucker said back in September that he would leave NBC Universal once Comcast completed the acquisition.
Both the FCC and DOJ have attached conditions to the deal, though the details of those conditions were not immediately available.
The FCC vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Michael Copps the only opposing vote. In a letter explaining why he voted against the deal, he said that he wanted one of the conditions to be more funding for NBC’s news division:
Given that this merger will make the joint venture a steward of the public’s airwaves as a broadcast licensee, I asked for a major commitment of its resources to beef up the news operation at NBC. That request was not taken seriously. Increasing the quantity of news by adding hours of programming is no substitute for improving the quality of news by devoting the necessary resources. Make no mistake: what is at stake here is the infrastructure for our national conversation—the very lifeblood of American democracy. We should be moving in precisely the opposite direction of what this Commission approves today
TVNewser will have more on the merger, and how it affects NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC, in the coming days.
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