With the days of 2010 running out, Comcast Corp. no longer expects to close on its proposed joint venture with NBC Universal Inc. this year.

NBCU head Jeffrey Zucker distributed a holiday greetings memo to employees saying that the companies expect a "green light" for the deal in January, and Comcast has confirmed the new timetable.

Both companies are waiting on reviews by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice over their proposal to combine the programming and news operations of Comcast and NBCU into one company that then would be controlled by Comcast.

Brian Roberts, chief executive of Philadelphia-based Comcast, had said repeatedly through the year that he hoped to complete the deal by the end of December.

"We believe the FCC and the DOJ continue to make substantial process toward approval of our transaction. However, because of the lead time required to prepare for a close, it now appears that we will not be able to close the transaction with GE relating to NBC Universal by year-end," Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said today.

"We have notified our transition teams that there will not be a Dec. 31 closing. We believe the regulatory review puts us on track for a closing in January 2011. We are appreciative of the hard work by the FCC and DOJ staff and by our own transition teams, and look forward to completing the process early next year."

Contact Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897 or bob.fernandez@phillynews.com.