In a move not anticipated for several months, Comcast Corporation is to acquire industrial conglomerate GE’s entire 49 per cent common equity stake in the NBCUniversal joint venture for approximately $16.7 billion.
NBCUniversal will also purchase from GE the properties used by NBCUniversal at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and CNBC’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ for approximately $1.4 billion. The acquisition accelerates GE’s divestiture ahead of a redemption period that would have begun in July 2014 and solidifies Comcast’s position as a leading media and technology company. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of this year.
Comcast, announced December 2009 that it would acquire NBCUniversal from GE. The deal valued NBCUniversal at around $30 billion. This agreement created a joint agreement, with Comcast owning 51 per cent and General Electric owning 49 per cent. Comcast contributed its stable of cable channels, which included Versus, the Golf Channel and E Entertainment, worth about $7.25 billion, paying General Electric about $6.5 billion in cash, for a total of $13.75 billion.
“This is an exciting day for Comcast as we have agreed to accelerate the purchase of NBCUniversal. The management team at GE has been a wonderful partner during the past two years and their support has been very valuable. Our decision to acquire GE’s ownership is driven by our sense of optimism for the future prospects of NBCUniversal and our desire to capture future value that we hope to create for our shareholders,” said Brian L.
Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation. “We believe the terms of the transaction are attractive and have planned for this event by taking a number of financial steps to prepare our balance sheet. We believe we are in a strong and unique position to continue to grow and build value in our combined company.”
The transactions will be funded with $11.4 billion of cash on hand, $4.0 billion of subsidiary senior unsecured notes to be issued to GE, $2.0 billion of borrowings under Comcast and/or subsidiary bank credit facilities and $725 million of subsidiary preferred stock to be issued to GE.
Morgan Stanley was financial advisor to Comcast and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP was the Company’s legal advisor.