Friday, October 2, 2009

Comcast, GE Said to Discuss NBC Universal Stake Sale

Don't let the facts get in the way of a good lie. Where once there was denial, quickly comes proof. It seems that Comcast is indeed looking to buy NBC and GE is willing to part with 51% as it would spin off NBC into a separate company where GE would see its ownership drop from 80% to 49%. Still it keeps GE in the entertainment game and allows them to reap some of the rewards, including trips to future Olympics.

"Negotiations for Comcast to buy about 50 percent of NBC Universal have been under way for at least two months and a deal would depend in part on Vivendi SA making a decision to sell its 20 percent holding, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private." As Vivendi has been talking about selling, I doubt that they will be the problem; valuation of the NBC Universal asset will surely affect the negotiations as they move forward.

Andy while the negotiations are at a very early stage, speculation remains on how Comcast would run this kind of business. Would current senior management remain? Would the philosophy of cheaper entertainment, i.e. The Jay Leno Show, be applauded or switched off? And will it be run out of New York or would operations switch to Philadelphia? Maybe, GE will recognize the power of the NBCU business to its bottom line, offsetting the losses of its other operations. They could just as easily walk away from this deal. Too, too early, but always fun to ask the questions.