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GE mulling NBCU sale?

September 10, 2009

Wall St is speculating General Electric is paving the way for a possible change of the ownership structure at media company NBC Universal as Vivendi's annual option to sell its 20% comes around again in November.

The WSJ quoted a source: "Talk to people in the media banking community; there is a book out on NBCU. The crux of the matter is that right now, there is little or no value in the GE stock price from owning NBCU…The Vivendi thing pushes it from a timing perspective and adds a little more urgency to the situation."

When asked whether GE is actively looking for new partners for NBC Universal and whether there is a proposal document or so-called "book" in the market, GE said “As you know, Vivendi has an annual option, exercisable later this year, to sell its stake in NBCU in the public market. If Vivendi determines to exercise its option, GE has several options, including bringing a new partner into NBCU, proceeding with an IPO or buying Vivendi’s stake.”

Vivendi has said it has no interest in upping its stake and this is backed by moves away from pure entertainment. It is said to be about to buy GVT, a Brazilian telecoms provider, in a E2bn offer that, if accepted, would give the French communications and entertainment group an important foothold in the fast-growing Latin American market.


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