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NBC Universal 3Q Profit Up 13 Percent

FAIRFIELD, CONN.: NBC Universal posted $732 million in profit for the three months ending Sept. 30, up 13 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Revenues, however, were down 20 percent, from more than $5 billion a year ago to just above $4 billion for 3Q09. NBCU parent corporation General Electric announced the results today.

NBCU’s results for the first nine months of the year were off. Revenues were down 11 percent for the period to $11.2 billon. Profit for the segment dove 27 percent to $1.7 billion.

NBCU has been the subject of speculation regarding a sale of the unit to Comcast. GE chief Jeffrey Immelt said in an investor’s call today that a sale or spin-out of NBCU depends in part on what Vivendi does with it’s 20 percent stake in the media company. Viviendi is expected to sell when its right to do so is triggered soon. Immelt said GE was ready to do either an IPO or a strategic partnership similar to the one it has now with Vivendi, but no specific deal was announced.

Analysts value NBCU at around $35 billion.

More on NBCU in play:
October 1, 2009: “Comcast Shares Sink on NBCU Speculation”
Shares of Comcast dropped around 7 percent today on speculation the cable operator might buy NBC Universal from General Electric. Wells Fargo Marci Ryvicker said the deal would make sense as far as the cable assets were concerned, but the broadcast network would be a red-headed stepchild.

July 20, 2009: “NBC Universal Profit Off 24 Percent”
The television entertainment unit of General Electric reported a profit of $539 million for the three months ending June 30, compared to $909 million for the same period last year, when NBCU collected $113 million from the sale of Sundance Channel to Rainbow Media. This year, NBCU has taken one-time charges totaling $95 million related to its investment in Ion Media, which is in reorganization. Revenues for the unit were down 8 percent to $3.6 billion.