Genachowski conditionally OK with Comcast deal; approval seen coming next year

Even as divisive and fragmented as they are, the nation's politicos are dependable when it comes to the fact that they don't do much, if anything, over holidays. Thus it's not earth-shattering news that Comcast's burning desire to acquire NBC Universal will have to continue into 2011, even though FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has circulated an Order that states on balance that the transaction meets the public interest standard.

Genachowski, FCC staffers said on background, has tentatively approved the deal and begun initial discussions with other Commissioners prior to calling for a vote. An FCC staffer further declined to offer a timeline for ultimate approval noting it's not on a public meeting schedule at present; the next agenda meeting is Jan. 25.

Deposed (after the deal is completed) NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker let the cat out of the bag--and Comcast quickly jumped in--with a memo that he sent to staff (who may or may not be around after the deal goes through) that noted the engaged couple "expect that we will get a 'green light' in January" but "until then, of course, business continues as normal."

The feds and Comcast have been hard at work hammering out details of the deal since the first public notice started the process March 18. Since that time, FCC execs said on background, they Commission has received 30,000 written comments with most, unofficially, at least, being negative.

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