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NBC Universal Profit Off 24 Percent

FAIRFIELD, CONN.: Second-quarter profit for NBC Universal would have down about one-fourth compared to last year if not for special items that nearly slashed the figure in half. 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.

The NBC network, the TV stations and in-house production generated $1.4 billion in revenues, down 9 percent from a year ago. Operating profit was down $100 million.

Profits grew about 7 percent for NBC’s cable networks, to $595 million. Cable revenues were 3 percent to $1.2 billion.

Third-quarter results for NBCU are expected to be better than last year, when the unit lost $150 million on the Olympics.

General Electric’s overall 2Q profits drop 47 percent to $2.9 billion or 26 cents a share, compared to $5.4 billion during the second quarter of 2008. Revenues fell 17 percent to $39.1 billion.

GE (NYSE: GE) shares fell on the report of its results, from around $12.40 last week to $11.63 today in mid-afternoon trading. Analysts at Goldman Sachs cut the target price for GE from $16 to $13 after the company’s 2Q report.