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Comcast-NBCU Approvals Draw Fire, Praise

Good morning, cable gang. There's no shortage of reaction after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and U.S. Department of Justice granted conditional approval to Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s merger with NBC Universal . (See FCC Blesses Condition-Laden Comcast-NBCU Deal.)

  • USA Today focuses its coverage on the conditions the FCC placed on the deal, including a requirement that Comcast offer a $49.95 monthly standalone cable modem service with speeds of at least 6 Mbit/s for the next three years, and a restriction that keeps the MSO from discriminating among Web services.

  • The New York Times homes in on the FCC's requirement that Comcast give up a management role at Hulu LLC -- a condition that Comcast EVP David Cohen said leaves the company "perfectly satisfied."

  • The Economist pokes fun at conditions that protect online video hopefuls Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG): "Ah, those poor emerging online-video outfits, so in need of protection from big, bad media companies that might try to withhold their programmes. How puny they are." (See Comcast-NBCU Rules to Frustrate OTT Players.)

  • No surprise that Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who used a Senate hearing on the merger to reminisce about his treatment from NBC during his Saturday Night Live days, lambasted the FCC for approving the deal. (See Policy Watch: Fired Up Over NBC, Net Neutrality .)

  • AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL)'s DailyFinance takes a look at the effect the merger will have on the sports media business, noting that the deal creates "a sports behemoth that could challenge the dominance of Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS)'s (DIS) ESPN."

  • Free Press called the merger a "disastrous deal," noting that Comcast-NBC will "now control one in every five television viewing hours."

  • In a much smaller deal for Comcast, its Comcast Interactive Capital unit led a $9 million investment in Perfect Market, which "hosts big publishers’ old stories in a Google-friendly way, and sells ads against the archived content."

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

  • falsecut 12/5/2012 | 5:15:03 PM
    re: Comcast-NBCU Approvals Draw Fire, Praise

    Is there any deal that could possibly be made in any industry that would not be approved by federal regulators?  Perhaps we never seem to see deals disallowed because companies don't try to do them.  The restrictions put on mergers usually seem pretty weak.

    Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:15:02 PM
    re: Comcast-NBCU Approvals Draw Fire, Praise

    falsecut: > Is there any deal that could possibly be made in any industry that would not be approved by federal regulators?

    It would basically have to involve Google, wouldn't it.  They'd have to be buying Microsoft or Yahoo. That's about all I can think of.

    I don't know that there's any horizontal deal (the gobbling up of one's supply chain and/or customers) that ever gets disapproved.

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