Report: Regulators eye Comcast deal condition

Mull dispute arbitration for NBC Uni purchase

Some Wall Street analysts have been predicting that the proposed Comcast Corp.-NBC Universal combination may win regulatory approval only under certain conditions to protect the availability of content and avoid programming disputes.

A Bloomberg report late Friday cited people involved in talks with regulators as saying that
the Justice Department and FCC have asked people questions about arbitration as a possible condition to help cable and satellite TV competitors negotiate with Comcast for its programming.

The FCC’s investigation seems "both wide and deep" and seems to concentrate on ensuring that Comcast rivals have access to its programming, Bloomberg quoted Rebecca Arbogast, analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, as saying.

It was not immediately clear if regulators had raised the issue of conditions themselves or if the various critics of the merger had brought them up in meetings.

Comcast declined comment.

The FCC recently made a second information request related to the planned purchase of a 51% stake in NBC Universal by Comcast.