The FCC is stopping the shot clock on the Comcast-NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) merger for a second time. Thursday, June 24, had been day 50 on what is an informal 180-day deadline for vetting the deal. The review began March 18. The commission says that the companies returned incomplete answers and did not follow the directions in responding to a May FCC request for a raft of information from both on everything from organizational structure and channel lineups to copies of all programming agreements and detailed discussions of all deliberations in making content available online. The commission sent letters to the two Thursday, informing them that the FCC would put the brakes on vetting the merger until such time as they had complied fully.
The first stoppage came April 16 (after only 29 days) so that the companies could supply FCC-solicited reports on the economic benefits of the deal and one on its impact on online content distribution. The commission also gave commenters a chance to weigh the impact, if any, of the April 6 BitTorrent decision that called into question the FCC’s ability to regulate broadband. The clock was re-started June 3. More details at Broadcasting & Cable.