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In Comcast-NBC merger, companies will seek to ease regulator concerns

A merger between Comcast and NBC Universal, expected to be announced by Thursday, would probably come with concessions aimed at forestalling a drawn-out federal review of the deal, sources close to the negotiations said.

In previous major media mergers, companies have agreed to preserve local news coverage and grant competitors access to content, for example. Sources familiar with the Comcast-NBC Universal talks said such promises would probably be announced with the merger.

The $30 billion transaction would significantly reshape the media landscape by giving the nation's largest cable and broadband Internet provider control over content that makes up one out of five TV viewing hours, according to some analysts. NBC owns Universal Studios, theme parks, shows such as "The Biggest Loser" and "Heroes," and cable channels such as USA Network, Bravo and CNBC.

The deal, which has been in the works for months, was jump-started Monday when General Electric agreed to acquire the portion of NBC Universal it doesn't own from French conglomerate Vivendi for $5.8 billion, according to sources. That agreement was the remaining hurdle for Philadelphia-based Comcast to consummate its purchase of NBC Universal.

Here's the whole story in the paper today.

By Cecilia Kang  |  December 2, 2009; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  Comcast , FCC , FTC , Media , Online Video  
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