TVBizwire

Comcast-NBCU Deal Stalls as Regulators Sort Out Details Reuters

Approval of the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal is taking longer to work its way through the federal regulatory process than the companies had hoped, and now the word is the deal will be delayed at least until next month, Reuters reports.

NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker reportedly sent around a staff memo Wednesday in which he said: "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."

Zucker is expected to depart the company after the deal goes through.

Comcast initially hoped to complete the acquisition this year, the story says. But the company--the largest cable firm in the U.S.--confirmed the delay.

"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 Comcast spokeswoman said in a statement. "We have notified our transition teams that there will not be a Dec. 31 closing."

The story cites sources saying that the areas that are causing regulators to take a closer look at the deal include online video, program access and program carriage.

Among other issues, regulators reportedly have concerns about whether Comcast might wield too much influence over the increasingly important online video market through Hulu, which is a joint venture involving NBCU, News Corp. and Disney.