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Comcast: No NBCU Approval This Year

Comcast now aiming for January approval

Comcast has abandoned hope of getting approval for its NBC-Universal acquisition by the end of the year.

The company is now aiming for January, company spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said in a statement Wednesday. The acquisition needs approval from at least three of the five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission. The Department of Justice could then challenge the merger, but has expressed no interest in doing so.

Also read: Comcast: Let's Wrap NBCU Deal By Year's End

“We believe the FCC and the DOJ continue to make substantial process toward approval of our transaction," Fitzmaurice said in a statement Wednesday. "However because of the lead time required to prepare for a close, it now appears that we will not be able to close the transaction with GE relating to NBC Universal by year-end."

The FCC prioritized Tuesday's net neutrality vote over the merger, approving guidelines designed to keep cable providers from limiting broadband access to rival content, online video or other forms of internet traffic.

Comcast said earlier this month that it hoped the FCC would approve the deal this year. Critics of the merger have said much more study is needed and that the deal would limit choices and raise costs for consumers, a contention Comcast denies.