Vivendi seeking more cash for NBCU share

Any deal for General Electric to sell NBC Universal to Comcast has to travel through Paris and GE’s partner in NBC’s digital unit, Vivendi. That trip just got a little more expensive, as the French media conglomerate appears to be holding out for more than the $6 billion its 20 percent stake ostensibly is worth after GE and Comcast agreed to value the company at $30 billion, reports Bloomberg.

Vivendi also apparently is seeking protection if the deal is blocked by regulators, asking GE to buy at least part of its NBCU stake before the Comcast deal would likely be finalized. Regulators could take up to a year to approve a Comcast purchase.

Is anyone surprised? Not only is the euro pounding the dollar, but the deal can’t happen unless Vivendi agrees to sell its share back to GE. Nevertheless, Bloomberg says its sources still expect an agreement to move forward.

Vivendi may actually be a more motivated seller after it earlier this month won a bidding war for Brazilian telco GVT, agreeing to spend $4.2 billion. That NBCU cash could be an easy way to finance the buy. As part of Vivendi’s ownership deal in NBCU, it has the option of selling its share between No. 15 and Dec. 10 annually through 2016.

A deal would clear the way for Comcast to become a majority owner in NBCU, which would give Comcast and CEO Brian Roberts control of some significant programming, as well as partial ownership in online video hub Hulu.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg story

Related articles:
Does Comcast see NBCU bid as a lifesaver? 
Zucker would stay as head of 'new' NBCU 
Report: Comcast and GE agree to value of NBCU
Hulu's free--for now 
Would NBCU-Comcast deal make Hulu pay-per-view?