MSNBC owners want to split

General Electric and Microsoft, the co-owners of cable news channel MSNBC, are looking to unwind their partnership, the Wall Street Journal reported.

While the two companies have had on-again, off-again talks about dissolving or restructuring their partnership for years and no agreement is imminent, there is greater urgency on both sides to reach an accord in the next several months.

The newspaper said the partners have different but complementary reasons to end their relationship. The synergies envisioned between software and media that helped to spur the MSNBC partnership about a decade ago never really materialized, the report said.

Like its recent sale of the online magazine Slate to the Washington Post Co., Microsoft’s desire to leave the partnership seems to be further evidence that it wants to focus more on its core businesses. As for NBC, it would prefer to run MSNBC — likely under a new name — on its own, without having to deal with a partner whose interest in the channel clearly has faded, the newspaper said.

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