Hours before the official merger of Comcast and NBC Universal closed Friday evening, one of the key deal-makers for Philadelphia’s telecommunications giant spoke with Metro about what the mega-deal means to both well-known companies.
The bottom line, said Comcast’s Executive Vice President David L. Cohen, is that Comcast headquarters will stay in Philadelphia and NBC’s employees will not be relocated here.
“Brian and Ralph Roberts and Comcast executives are proud to head a Philadelphia-based company,” Cohen said. “Comcast employees will not be moving to New York. We do not intend to move NBCUniversal or Telemundo employees here. Maybe a few additional administrative positions might be needed locally.”
The much-covered, much-debated merger that began all the way back in spring 2009 was approved Jan. 18 by the Federal Communications Commission 4-1. Cohen said he was proud of the support in the week leading up to the vote. Comcast, now owning 51 percent of NBCUniversal in a joint venture with General Electric, will assume managing control of the network.
“During the week before the FCC vote, more than 110 members of Congress and senators signed letters urging approval. Governors, mayors and city councils supported the deal. Only a handful of elected officials — including Congressman Maxine Waters and Sen. Al Franken — were against the deal at the end,” Cohen said.
Critics charged that the FCC did not extract major concessions from Comcast when they approved the merger. The new company did have to cede control of online video service, Hulu, and is required to offer high-speed Internet service at a specific price.