Comcast Corp struck a deal to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal from General Electric Co, creating a media superpower that would control not just how television shows and movies are made, but how they are delivered to the home.
The deal had been discussed for months and brought to light deep divisions over the future of the media business, with some lauding Comcast Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts as a visionary and others calling it the most foolhardy acquisition since AOL bought Time Warner in 2001.
In a world where the Internet has disrupted traditional media, Comcast wants NBC Universal so it can deliver programing to audiences however they may want it -- through TV sets, personal computers or mobile devices. Not only is Comcast the largest U.S. cable distributor, it also is the leading Internet service provider to homes.
But critics of the deal, including some Comcast investors, suggest there is too little overlap between the businesses to draw out meaningful savings, and that competition regulators are bound to burden it with restrictions