Advanced Television

NBC Comcast deal closer?

November 5, 2009

According to the NYT NBC and Comcast have moved closer to a deal giving control of NBC Universal to Comcast, and a formal announcement could be made sometime next week.

It says the two companies reached a tentative agreement that Comcast would own about 51 percent of NBC Universal, contributing several billions of dollars in cash and its own stable of cable networks to the new venture.

G.E., which currently owns 80 percent of the entertainment company, would retain the other 49 percent and would contribute about $12 billion in debt to the new entity, though it is expected eventually to sell its ownership interest over several years.

The main remaining issue is the negotiations with Vivendi that owns 20 percent of NBC Universal. Talks with Vivendi are continuing, focused largely on how to reach an acceptable valuation of NBC Universal. Vivendi's chief executive, Jean-Bernard Lévy, said at an industry conference last week that his company might seek to sell its stake in NBC Universal through an initial public offering. Under the terms of its agreement with G.E., Vivendi has the right from mid-November to mid-December to sell its stake in NBC Universal.


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