Comcast-NBCU Deal Won’t Be Approved in 2010

By Alex Weprin 

The long-pending Comcast-NBC Universal merger will not be approved by the government in 2010, the companies announced. The deal is currently in the hands of the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, which both have to sign off on it.

Comcast released the following statement:

“We believe the FCC and the DOJ continue to make substantial process toward approval of our transaction.  However 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. We have notified our transition teams that there will not be a December 31 closing.  We believe the regulatory review puts us on track for a closing in January 2011.  We are appreciative of the hard work by the FCC and DOJ staff and by our own transition teams, and look forward to completing the process early next year.”

The announcement was not a surprising one. While the companies were publicly hopeful about a December close, many executives were more pessimistic in private conversations.

The process of determining what the exact conditions of the deal should be has also bee taking up a significant amount of time.

As the companies say in the statement, the deal is now looking likely to close in January, at which point Comcast will assume control over the NBC Universal properties, including NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC.