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Comcast Said to Be Close to Gaining NBC Universal

Monday, November 02, 2009

By Micheal J. de la Merced and Andrew Ross Sorkin
The New York Times

General Electric and the cable giant Comcast have moved closer to a deal giving control of NBC Universal to Comcast, and a formal announcement could be made sometime next week, people briefed on the talks said Sunday.

After a series of meetings last week, the two companies reached a tentative agreement on Friday over the main points of a deal, these people said. Comcast would own about 51 percent of NBC Universal, contributing several billions of dollars in cash and its own stable of cable networks to the new venture.

G.E., which currently owns 80 percent of the entertainment company, would retain the other 49 percent and would contribute about $12 billion in debt to the new entity, though it is expected eventually to sell its ownership interest over several years.

Much work remains before the deal can be completed. The main issue is the negotiations with Vivendi, the French conglomerate that owns 20 percent of NBC Universal. Talks with Vivendi are continuing, focused largely on how to reach an acceptable valuation of NBC Universal, these people said. The French media company gained its stake in NBC Universal in 2004 through a deal with G.E., which combined NBC with Vivendi’s Universal Entertainment....(Remainder.)

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