Comcast/GE Discussing Joint NBC Universal Venture
The new company would be majority controlled by Comcast which would own a 51% stake in NBC Universal versus General Electric’s 49%
By Claire Atkinson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/1/2009 2:17:29 PM
With Comcast and GE said to be in talk to to join forces in a new company pooling GE’s NBC Universal assets and controlled (51%) by Comcast, a long-form review of the deal would have to take place at the FCC. The FCC must approve any transfer of TV licenses, as well as an antitrust review at the Justice Department. Click here for the full story.
The new company would be majority controlled by Comcast which would own a 51% stake in NBC Universal versus General Electric’s 49%. Comcast’s only cash outlay would be in the $4 billion to $6 billion range, according to one person in the midst of talks. CNBC had reported that Comcast would kick-in as much as $7 billion. That point appears to be one of many still under negotiation. One executive said General Electric would also contribute $12 billion in debt to the spun-off entity. Comcast’s assets include: E!, Style, Golf Channel and a group of regional sports networks.
As part of the deal Comcast would manage the new entity and merge its own cable assets into the venture. The deal is of course dependent on Vivendi giving up its 20% stake in NBC Universal which is majority owned by NBC Universal. The company is yet to decide on its plan for the stake.
Some deal players have suggested the $35 billion valuation, which originated from a J.P. Morgan analyst, is too high and that Bernstein Research's figure of between $21 billion and $23 billion might be a more accurate figure. J.P. Morgan is also the banker for GE.
The executive refused to name a potential chief of the new company, should a deal be completed, though it seems as if Comcast as managing partner would be in the driving seat of the decision making.
If this means the new ownership group cleans house at NBC and gets rid of Zucker and Bromstad and the rest of them, then I'm all for this deal. NBC is a huge money loser for GE and they want to unload them as quickly as possible and one way to do this is to pust Zucker!
Richard - 10/1/2009 7:45:18 PM EDT
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