WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and NBC Universal did not fully comply with recent information requests by the Federal Communications Commission involving their proposed joint venture, the agency said on Thursday.
Comcast, the top U.S. cable provider, is seeking a controlling stake in General Electric Co’s (GE.N) NBC Universal in a $30 billion joint venture being reviewed by the FCC and the Justice Department’s antitrust division.
In letters to attorneys representing Comcast and NBC, FCC Media Bureau Chief William Lake said the agency’s 180-day review clock will be halted as of June 11, the date by which the recent information request was due, and will resume once the new documents are submitted.
The agency has directed Comcast and NBCU “to review, revise and supplement its responses and associated materials, as necessary, to correct these and any other deficiencies,” Lake said in the letters.
The proposed transaction has caused an uproar with consumer and public interest groups who have warned that the deal is likely to result in higher prices for consumers.
In May an influential senator has said he wants Comcast to be required to divest the 32 percent stake in online video site Hulu.com if it wins regulatory approval.
Hulu is considered the digital jewel of the transaction. Having a stake in Hulu would help Comcast sidestep a big concern for cable companies, namely that users could start cutting subscriptions if they could see their favorite shows free online.
Reporting by John Poirier; editing by Carol Bishopric