12.01.2009 03:00 PM
GE to Buy Vivendi’s Piece of NBC
FAIRFIELD, CONN: Shares of General Electric rose today as the
company took a step toward divesting NBC Universal. Vivendi today said it
agreed to sell its 20 percent piece of NBCU to GE for $5.8 billion, wire
reports indicate. Speculation that GE is preparing to sell NBCU to Comcast has
been circulating for nearly a month. Securing Vivendi’s minority stake will
allow GE to sell 100 percent of the company, which includes the Peacock
network, Universal Studios and cable nets that include CNBC, Bravo and the
Weather Channel. Analysts have valued NBCU at around $30 billion.
A deal in which Comcast takes a 51 percent stake could be announced as soon as
Thursday, The Guardian reports. It
would have to pass muster, however, with federal regulators who will likely
hear objections from anti-media consolidation camps. Should Comcast take NBCU,
it would mark the first time a cable company--this one being the largest in the
United States--would own a major broadcast network.
Shares of GE (NYSE: GE) reached more than $16.25 in today’s trading after
hovering at and below $16 for several days. The wider market also saw a surge
today on better-than-expected data for pending home sales and construction.