FCC, Justice approve Comcast-NBC Universal merger, with conditions

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), which has been chomping at the bit for the chance to run out the old NBC executive corps and run in their new people to oversee a conglomerate of cable and broadcast channels, a movie studio and entertainment theme parks, can now proceed. The FCC, as expected, approved the MSO's merger with NBC Universal by a 4-1 vote with Democrat Commissioner Michael Copps dissenting.

The Justice Department also announced its approval of the deal as long as Comcast met a long line of conditions both regulatory bodies--and a bunch of interested parties--hope will keep competition more than just a word in the dictionary.

Most of those conditions focus on how Comcast, as the nation's largest high-speed data provider on top of everything else, handles its online properties with NBC. In a review process that lasted well over a year, federal officials heard from and, to some extent, placated a number of vocal opponents with conditions that at times seemed to exasperate Comcast executives. None of the conditions, however, covered the personnel that incoming NBC Universal boss Steve Burke can now officially slip into place.

"After a thorough review (which Comcast execs might say was too thorough) we have adopted strong and fair merger conditions to ensure this transaction serves the public interest," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

For more:
- the Washington Post has this story
- see FierceOnlineVideo's take

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