September 22, 2019

Media Decoder Blog: Comcast Buying G.E.’s Stake in NBCUniversal for $16.7 Billion

6:03 p.m. | Updated Comcast said Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire General Electric’s remaining 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal for approximately $16.7 billion, completing a sale process that was expected to take several more years.

The acquisition will wrap up by the end of March, Comcast said in a news release. The move reflects Comcast’s optimism about NBCUniversal going forward, from its highly profitable cable channels to its theme parks and Web sites and the flagship NBC broadcast network.

Comcast also said that NBCUniversal would buy the NBC studios and offices at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, as well as the CNBC headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Those transactions will cost about $1.4 billion. With the office space comes naming rights for the General Electric building, according to a GE spokeswoman. So it is possible that the giant red “GE” sign atop 30 Rockefeller Center could be replaced by a Comcast sign.

“This is an exciting day for Comcast as we have agreed to accelerate the purchase of NBCUniversal,” Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, said in a statement. “The management team at GE has been a wonderful partner during the past two years and their support has been very valuable. Our decision to acquire GE’s ownership is driven by our sense of optimism for the future prospects of NBCUniversal and our desire to capture future value that we hope to create for our shareholders.”

Comcast took control of NBCUniversal in early 2011 by acquiring 51 percent of the media company from General Electric.

At the time, Comcast committed to paying about $6.5 billion in cash and contributed all of its cable channels, including E! and some regional sports networks, to the newly established NBCUniversal joint venture. Those channels were valued at $7.25 billion.

The transaction made Comcast, the single biggest cable provider in the United States, one of the biggest owners of cable channels, too. NBCUniversal operates the NBC broadcast network, 10 local NBC stations, USA, Bravo, Syfy, E!, MSNBC, CNBC, the NBC Sports Network, Telemundo, Universal Pictures, Universal Studios, and a long list of other media brands.

The sale ends a long relationship between General Electric and NBC that goes back to before the founding days of television. In 1926, the Radio Corporation of America created the NBC network. General Electric owned R.C.A. until 1930. It regained control of R.C.A., including NBC, in 1986, in a deal worth $6.4 billion at the time.

Comcast had another five years to buy out General Electric’s interest in NBCUniversal, according to the terms of the original deal.

“We didn’t have to do it; GE didn’t have to sell now,” Mr. Roberts noted in an interview on CNBC on Tuesday. “But we came to an understanding that I think works out well for everybody. They get a lot of cash … and our shareholders have 100 percent of the upside here.”

Asked about a possible logo swap on the building, Mr. Roberts said, that’s “not something we’re focused on talking about today.”

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/comcast-buying-g-e-s-stake-in-nbcuniversal-for-16-7-billion/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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