Fates and Fortunes

Zucker looking like a lock to head new Comcast-GE venture

11/10/2009 06:49:12 PM

Reuters is reporting what we’ve been hearing for a while now: Comcast and GE have agreed to keep NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker on as head of the two companies’ proposed joint venture. The structure of the board is still being negotiated.

The media that cover media are breathlessly awaiting the deal’s closure, which values NBCU at $30 billion and would give Comcast a 51% ownership stake in the new company, which would house NBC, the NBC owned stations, NBCU’s cable networks, the television and film studio and The Weather Channel, which NBCU acquired in July 2008. Whether Comcast will keep all of those assets once acquired remains in question, with rumors flying that the network and the stations are up for grabs to the highest bidder.

According to Reuters, Zucker will lead the new entity — in whatever shape it may take — with no clauses that would require him to leave after a specific period.

Meanwhile, it’s been well reported that former News Corp. President Peter Chernin and former Fox Entertainment President Peter Ligouri both are advising Comcast on the deal, but what the roles of Chernin and Ligouri might be are unknown. I highly doubt either men are up for answering to Zucker, and the possibility exists that Chernin and Ligouri are just acting as consultants with no intention of climbing on board once the deal is done.

While Zucker seems to have gotten his job locked down, Vivendi, which owns 20% of NBCU, still needs to agree to a deal. That may have already happened in backroom negotiations but news of such an agreement has yet to leak out.

April
May