As expected, General Electric agreed to purchase French utility Vivendi
S.A. 12.3% stake in NBC Universal for about $3.8 billion, the final
installment in a $5.8 billion deal that paves the way toward the closing
of its 50-50 joint venture with Comcast.
GE had agreed to buy out Vivendi
in November 2009, which led to its announcement one month later
creating the NBCU joint venture with Comcast. Vivendi sold a 7.7%
interest in NBCU to GE in September.
Vivendi, formerly Vivendi Universal, had sold its Universal Studios and cable channels to NBC in 2004 for $14 billion which created NBCU, but retained a 20% interest in the venture. It was Vivendi's desire to divest of that stake in 2009 that sparked speculation that GE would either sell the unit or seek a partner.