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Comcast Calls NBCU Purchase Report "Inaccurate" - Broadcasting & Cable

Comcast Calls NBCU Purchase Report "Inaccurate"

Another source denies deal is in the works to give cable giant a content footprint
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Comcast responded to a Sept. 30 evening report that the cable giant
has a deal to buy NBC Universal, calling it "inaccurate."

TheWrap.com
reported Comcast made a deal to buy NBCU from General Electric for $35 billion
.
The report cites two sources who claim a deal was hammered out at a meeting in New York on Sept. 29.
The price was pegged at $35 billion, a valuation that J.P. Morgan had suggested
in a report a couple of weeks ago.

A
spokesman for Comcast, in an email message to Broadcasting
& Cable
, responded, "While we do not normally comment on
M&A rumors, the report that Comcast has a deal to purchase NBC Universal is
inaccurate." Another party, which did not wish to go on record shot down
news of a deal.

General
Electric reps have yet to respond to requests for comment, but industry
Blackberrys are already buzzing. Two
Wall Street media analysts contacted Sept. 30 were
caught be surprise saying they had no information on any likely deal.

Earlier
this month Comcast's COO Steve
Burke suggested the company was more interested in content deals than adding to
distribution. "We would like to get bigger if the economics were
right," Burke said. "I think we would not be doing our job if we
weren't trying to figure out how to get bigger in those businesses. If the
opportunity came about where we could add cable content to our portfolio, I
think we would do it."

J.P.
Morgan analyst Stephen Tusa said 2009 will be viewed as a bottom for NBCU, but
noted better days are ahead as the ad market improves. In a September note he
wrote, "Longer term we continue to believe that there are strategic
alternatives for NBCU, an asset that has little synergy with the rest of GE and
that we believe, under reasonable assumptions, is commanding no value in the GE
stock price."

Media
stocks were generally down Wednesday along with the S&P which fell 0.33%.
General Electric stock traded downward today ending Sept. 30 at $16.42 off
1.74%. Comcast also traded down at $16.88, falling 2.88% putting its market cap
at $48.44 billion.

What
remains in question is whether a deal has also been done for the remaining 20%
of NBC Universal that is owned by France's Vivendi, which has
an annual option to sell its stake. A decision on that possible sale was
expected at a board meeting in mid-October.

If
Comcast has indeed made a deal to buy NBC Universal it would put the
Philadephia-based MSO on the map
in a major way. It would significantly bolster its cable channel offerings
which currently include E! Entertainment, Style network, G4 and Versus. It is
unclear what Comcast might want to do with a broadcast network or a theme park,
though the company once made a $54 billion bid for Disney.

NBC
Universal's cable assets include the top-rated USA Network, as well as
Bravo, SyFy and Oxygen and news channels CNBC
and MSNBC. NBC Universal also holds a stake in The Weather Channel and a third
share of online Web video portal Hulu.

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