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NBC Universal has acquired controlling interest of MSNBC and an option to acquire the cable news channel in its entirety within two years, according to NBC Universal.

The deal with Microsoft, announced Dec. 23, is intended to allow the television network to integrate the channel fully into its news operation and its cable platform. According to a statement from NBC Universal, will remain equally owned by both Microsoft and NBC Universal.

For the past several years, MSNBC has struggled to win viewers, consistently lagging behind CNN and Fox News.

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