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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
"We have notified our transition teams that there will not be a December 31 closing," said Comcast in an emailed statement. "We believe the regulatory review puts us on track for a closing in January 2011."
NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker, who will step down from his post when the transaction is completed, echoed Comcast's statement in a memo to employees, saying the companies have made "substantial progress" with the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, both of which have to sign off on the deal for it to move forward.
He also said he expects the companies to get a "green light" in January.
"The official close of the transaction would happen shortly after government approval. Until then, of course, business continues as normal," said Zucker.
Comcast reached an agreement with NBCU's majority owner, General Electric Corp., to take control of the media company over a year ago. While a lengthy and difficult regulatory process was widely expected, the investment community has widely anticipated that the deal would close—possibly with some limitations on the merged companies imposed by the federal government aimed at guarding the public's interest.
A number of lawmakers, companies and interest groups have opposed the deal, however, and U.S. President Barack Obama made campaign promises to halt media consolidation, leading some of his supporters to urge against regulatory approval of the deal.
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