91.1 F
San Fernando
Sunday, May 28, 2023

Comcast-NBC Universal Combination Gets Green Light

The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department approved Comcast Corp.’s deal to acquire a majority stake in NBC Universal. The deal, approved more than a year after the companies first announced it, allows Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, to buy a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal from General Electric Co. The approval allows the creation of a joint venture that results in a $30 billion business spanning broadcast, cable networks, movie studios, and the Internet. FCC commissioners approved the deal Tuesday on a 4-1 vote, with Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps dissenting. “After a thorough review, we have adopted strong and fair merger conditions to ensure this transaction serves the public interest,” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, in a prepared statement. “The conditions include carefully considered steps to ensure that competition drives innovation in the emerging online video marketplace”. The Justice Department later issued a statement that it had reached a settlement with the parties involved allowing their joint venture to proceed conditioned on the parties’ agreement to license programming to online competitors, subject themselves to anti-retaliation provisions and adhere to Open Internet requirements, among other conditions. Chief among the requirements from the Justice Department is that Comcast give up management rights to Hulu, the online video site co-owned by News Corp, Walt Disney Co and NBC Universal. The FCC also imposed several conditions to address potential harms posed by the combination of Comcast and NBCU. As part of the merger, Comcast-NBCU will be required to take affirmative steps to foster competition in the video marketplace. In addition, Comcast-NBCU will increase local news coverage to viewers; expand children’s programming; enhance the diversity of programming available to Spanish-speaking viewers; offer broadband services to low-income Americans at reduced monthly prices; and provide high-speed broadband to schools, libraries and underserved communities, among other public benefits. Dissenting commissioner Copps said the deal conferred too much power in one company’s hands. “In sum, this is simply too much, too big, too powerful, too lacking in benefits for American consumers and citizens,” he said in a statement. The transaction is a huge boost to media industry consolidation, he added. “It further erodes diversity, localism and competition – the three essential pillars of the public interest standard mandated by law. I would be true to neither the statute nor to everything I have fought for here at the Commission over the past decade if I did not dissent from what I consider to be a damaging and potentially dangerous deal.”

Featured Articles

Related Articles