While Comcast and NBCU continue to hope that the FCC will approve their proposed jv by year-end, it’s clear that there is a lot to sort through but the agency is moving along. On Fri, the FCC sent nearly 20 pages of questions to each company.
From Comcast, it asked for detailed accounts on subs and pricing, total network capacity, a pro-forma annual financial statement with projections through ’14 and so on. NBCU’s litany of info requests included an organization chart for all its divisions, a detailed breakdown its relationship with ION Media and lots and lots of queries on online video (Comcast had a few of those too). The Commission is asking for replies by June 11 (sounds like no long Memorial Day weekend for the legal eagles).
Meanwhile, merger opponent Free Press continues to mount its campaign against the deal. One of its newest efforts, a YouTube video dubbed “How to Save the World from Comcast” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR6CmOE53tc) that includes a cheesy looking asteroid (meant to represent the jv) headed toward the earth.
On the other side, politicians in states where the companies have a significant presence, such as PA Sen Arlen Specter (D), have expressed their strong support of the jv. Most recently, the governors of PA, CA and NY came forward with their blessing. Noting that Comcast and NBCU account for nearly 140K jobs in 40 states and DC, the 3 wrote to the FCC Tues that putting NBCU under the management of a company solely focused on entertainment and communications will result in a stronger company. They call for timely govt approval and restraint from imposing “extraneous conditions.”
The FCC’s unofficial 180-day clock on the merger review was stopped last month for the 2 companies to submit more info, but it plans to restart it June 3. On Mon, John Flynn, former gen counsel for satellite company ICO Global, joined the Commission to head up the review. Full steam ahead.