Vivendi sells NBCU stake, freeing GE to finalize Comcast deal

Regulatory approval wasn't the only thing slowing Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) merger with NBC Universal; there was a little matter of Vivendi and its remaining 12.34 percent stake in the company. The Paris-based entertainment conglomerate has officially sold that stake to GE for $3.8 billion, clearing the path for GE to sell Comcast a 51 percent stake in NBCU.

While Comcast will be running the show, the two companies will actually form a joint venture where GE contributes NBCU and Comcast contributes cable TV channels and websites. Comcast will be able to buy out GE's stake over time.

On the other side of the aisle, an organization called CBSaver has issued a news release stating flatly that the merger is "setting the stage for cable rate increases nationwide," based on analysis by its economist, Alexander Per, who thinks it will help if consumers talk to their cable providers. "Let them know you aren't satisfied; let them know you cannot keep paying these outlandish rates," Per suggested.

For more:
- see this news release
- and this news release

Related articles:
Vivendi sells final stake in NBC Universal to GE
Vivendi may sell NBC Universal share via IPO