Bloomberg to file Comcast complaint

Biz channel claims NBC U merger conditions not followed

Bloomberg LP says that it intends to file a complaint against Comcast claiming that it has refused to follow a condition of its acquisition of NBC Universal that calls for it to cluster news channels in the same neighborhood on the cable tier.

Bloomberg, which had initially been a critic of the transaction, expressed its support when the FCC and Justice Department gave it the greenlight in January because a condition was placed on Comcast. The provision said that if Comcast “neighborhoods” its news channels, it “include all unaffiliated news (or business news) channels” in the same area of the channel lineup.

But Bloomberg, which owns the business channel Bloomberg Television, says that “Comcast has taken no steps to comply with the independent news provision” of the order approving the transaction.

“If Comcast continues to thumb its nose at the FCC’s order, Bloomberg will take its case to the commission and ask that it enforce the conditions it attached to approval of Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal,” Bloomberg LP chairman Peter T, Grauer said in a statement.

A Comcast spokeswoman said that Bloomberg is misinterpreting the condition.

“Comcast does not ‘neighborhood’ news channels in the way Bloomberg seeks to be repositioned,” said Sena Fitzmaurice. “Further, Comcast has not repositioned any channels to favor CNBC or any other affiliated news channel. Bloomberg is not entitled to any relief pursuant to its threatened complaint.”