WASHINGTON - The Justice Department said yesterday that it will be the agency to scrutinize Comcast Corp.’s plans to buy a controlling stake in NBC Universal’s broadcast networks, cable television channels, and movie studios.
The announcement settles questions about whether the federal antitrust review of the deal, unveiled late last year, will be handled by Justice or the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Communications Commission must also review the combination.
Though regulators are expected to approve the transaction, many analysts and watchdogs predict they will attach significant conditions, because a merger would give the nation’s largest cable TV operator control of a vast media empire, as well.
Both the Justice Department and the FCC will focus on the implications of allowing one company to control both the creation and the distribution of program content.