FTC OKs NBC/Universal


NBC won Federal Trade Commission approval for its $14 billion purchase of Vivendi Universal Entertainment Tuesday, its last regulatory hurdle. The Federal Communications Commission was not required to review the deal because it involved no station licenses.

The merger will be completed within the next few weeks, NBC officials said.

The new entity will be called NBC Universal, which officials billed as "one of the world's most profitable and fastest-growing media and entertainment companies."

The FTC did not require divestitures of any business lines, nor did it insist that NBC devote any of its prime time lineup to programming not produced by Universal or other in-house studios, as some public advocates urged.

"With this important step behind us, we will move quickly toward a close of the acquisition," said Bob Wright, Chairman and CEO of NBC and a vice chairman with NBC parent GE. "NBC and Universal are both performing at the top of their game. With our complementary assets and very similar business practices and cultures, I am confident the combined organization will execute extremely well from Day One."