Federal officials began circulating an order that will allow Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal Inc. to merge their entertainment and news operations into a joint venture that will be controlled by Comcast, concluding that the deal is in the "public interest with conditions," according to senior officials at the Federal Communications Commission.

The order could change and is not public. It is likely to change as the five commissioners debate and ask for changes to the order.

The Department of Justice also is reviewing the merger but has not concluded its analysis. Senior FCC officials spoke on background on the order now circulating. One FCC official said they believe that the Justice Department is comfortable with the FCC's approach.

The FCC officials did not disclose conditions contained in the circulated merger order but said that they concerned the ability of competitors could obtain NBC content, online issues, diversity and broadcast TV.