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Comcast inches closer to buying NBC

Nilay Patel

It's been over a month since we last heard anything about the rumored Comcast takeover of NBC, but things are slowly starting to move forward: Bloomberg says that NBC parent company GE has bought out Vivendi's 20 percent stake in the broadcaster for $5.8b, with up to a $2b refund due back if the Comcast deal isn't done by the end of 2010. That's no small gamble -- Comcast will have to clear a "gauntlet" of federal regulators from the FCC and FTC, who will scrutinize everything from the transfer of TV broadcast licenses in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to the effects on competitors like Dish Network and Verizon, who will still want access to NBC's huge stable of content and programming. Big challenges, to be sure, but we get the feeling this deal is going down one way or another -- get ready for a rocky 2010.

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