FCC Commissioner Skeptical of Comcast-NBCU Deal

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps expressed concern about whether today’s announced $13.75 billion deal for Comcast to control NBC Universal in a joint venture “advances the public’s interest.”

Comcast, the U.S.’s largest cable TV company, entered into a joint venture agreement with General Electric, parent of NBC Universal (NBCU), in which Comcast would own 51 percent and GE 49 percent of NBCU and Comcast would manage the joint venture. NBC Universal includes Universal Studios, which produces movies and TV programs, the NBC television network, NBC News and other holdings.

Copps has a deep concern about industry consolidation in which one company controls both the production and distribution of programming.

“While I look at each proposed transaction on its individual merits, my long-standing skepticism about the harms imposed by so few controlling so much persists,” he said in an FCC news release.

Understanding that the deal must win FCC approval, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a news release, “We are prepared to make affirmative commitments to ensure that the pro-consumer and public interest benefits of the transaction are realized.”