General Electric has agreed to purchase Vivendi’s 20% stake in NBC Universal for $5.8 bn, confirming its widely trailed intentions, and clearing the decks for the sale of a controlling share in the US network to the cablenet Comcast.
The sale places a value on NBC Universal of some $30 billion. NBCU will now borrow $9.1 billion that will be distributed to GE. Comcast will contribute programming and other elements worth $7.25 billion to create a company that combines broadcast and multichannel television and the Universal film studio.
In addition to its cable interests, Comcast’s programming business includes E! Entertainment and Style Network, both of which have European distribution. They will combine with Universal Networks properties that include Universal Channel, 13th Street Universal, Syfy Universal (the former Sci Fi), Diva Universal and Studio Universal.