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Public scrutiny over Comcast-NBC deal

NBC Logo on NBC building

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Another get-together perhaps. General Electric and Comcast are closer to a deal for Comcast to buy a controlling stake in NBC Universal. They've reportedly agreed to value NBC at about $30 billion. But there are a lot of speed bumps on this road to marriage, as Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports, the federal regulators are going to hear from consumer groups who are against the deal.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: Public-interest groups point out that Comcast is already the biggest cable company in the U.S. They worry that if it acquires control of NBC Universal, it'll both produce and distribute NBC shows, and restrict competitors' access to them.

Jeffrey Chester is the Center for Digital Democracy.

JEFFREY CHESTER: The merging of Comcast and NBC Universal is the equivalent of Godzilla swallowing Rockefeller Center, and using the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree as a toothpick.

Chester also says Comcast would raise cable rates to help pay for the NBC Universal deal. The Federal Communications Commission will evaluate any deal to see if it's in the public interest. Either the Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission would look at anti-trust issues.

A GE spokesman declined to comment. Comcast didn't respond by deadline.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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