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Comcast officially buys control of NBC

updated 07:55 am EST, Thu December 3, 2009

Comcast has controlling stake, GE minority

Comcast today confirmed late rumors and bought a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal that gives it control of the studio. The deal sees GE maintain a 49 percent stake and receive about $6.5 billion from Comcast; NBC Universal in turn is borrowing $9.1 billion to pay GE. While the new combined company doesn't yet have a name, but Comcast has created a second division known as the Comcast Entertainment Group that will handle the content aspects of the venture.

French media firm Vivendi, which had previously had a 20 percent stake in NBC Universal, is selling its portion of the company for $5.8 billion with timing for most of the purchase dependent on whether or not regulators complete the deal by next September.

Comcast and NBC Universal expect the deal to immediately gain value as both are already consistently profitable. The acquisition doesn't have a definite close date and is highly contingent on regulatory approval, which includes not only checks against US antitrust laws but also the FCC and international agencies.

The effective merger has already drawn controversy as it risks creating a conflict of interest in digital video. NBC Universal has been heavily invested in services that have reduced Internet users' dependence on traditional cable TV, such as Hulu and providing content to online video services such as iTunes and the Zune Video Marketplace. Comcast meanwhile has preferred Internet video policies that leave customers dependent on its more lucrative cable TV service, such as the need for a cable subscription to use its upcoming On Demand Online service as well as instituting a 250GB bandwidth cap which, while relatively flexible, partly discourages frequent HD video downloads or streams.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. ScottMcNulty

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2009

    -11

    More details about the Joint Venture

    Hi, Scott McNulty Comcast's chief blogger here. I just wanted to comment on a couple of points.

    First, Comcast our CEO Brian Roberts has said many times that online video is our friend, not foe (check out this video from Web 2.0 for the quote: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyPSObVh5HQ). Also, two years ago we launched Fancast.com that now has over 10k hours of TV shows for free.

    You can also find out more about the Comcast GE Joint Venture by reading Brian's blog post:

    http://blog.comcast.com/2009/12/comcast-and-ge-announce-nbc-universal-joint-venture.html

  1. chotty

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2003

    +3

    First step...

    Fire Zucker like, yesterday.

  1. statbit

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    +1

    30 Rock

    I can't wait to see the 30 Rock episodes. Now there are more than microwaves to mock. :-)

  1. syzygi

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +3

    So sad

    This is a sad day. What else can Comcast s**** up now?

    BTW Since when can you trust anyone at Comcast CEO or not? The salesmen, tech-support, installers, service men, they have all given me brash lies, bullzhit and double talk at some point. It seems quite deeply inherent in their cultural values.

    Give us a break. Leadership starts at the top.

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