Comcast and General Electric are inching closer to a deal on NBC Universal, agreeing to value the property at $30 billion, reports Reuters. At stake is a deal that would give the cable company a 51 percent stake in NBCU. The value of NBCU has been at issue, and described as a key obstacle, during the talks to form the joint venture.
For the deal to move forward, Paris-based Vivendi, which owns 20 percent of NBC Universal, would likely have to sell its stake back to GE. Vivendi has an annual option to sell its share that expires this year on Dec. 10. Sources say that nothing has yet been done officially to value that 20 percent slice of NBCU.
Should an agreement be reached, Comcast would have a controlling interest in NBCU that likely would to grow as General Electric continued to divest itself of the Peacock Network’s digital unit that includes a share of video hub Hulu, which is in competition with Comcast’s own Fancast. GE's shareholders have been pushing for the company to sell off media interests they see as ill fitting for the industrial monolith, Reuters said. As part of the deal, Comcast also would likely contribute $6 billion in cable networks and another $4 billion to $6 billion in cash to the new JV, according to reports.
Even if a deal is made soon, analysts expect that regulatory approval could take up to a year. Comcast is the nation's largest media company with nearly $30 billion in annual revenues.
- see this Reuters article
Comcast close to deal with GE for NBCU
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