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Comcast Buying Remainder of NBCUniversal from GE

By - Source: Comcast | B 12 comments

Comcast is now moving into 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, said on Tuesday night that it will pay $16.7 billion to buy General Electric’s (GE) remaining 49-percent stake in the NBC Universal joint venture. Comcast originally bought 51-percent of NBCUniversal in 2011 after winning antitrust approval from the Justice Department. Now it controls one of the industry’s largest and most profitable batch of networks including NBC, USA, SyFy and others.

In addition to the acquisition, NBCUniversal will purchase from GE the properties used by NBCUniversal at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and CNBC’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ for approximately $1.4 billion. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of this year, Comcast said.

Both transactions will be funded with $11.4 billion in cash on hand. They will also be funded by $4.0 billion of subsidiary senior unsecured notes to be issued to GE, $2.0 billion of borrowings under Comcast and/or subsidiary bank credit facilities and $725 million of subsidiary preferred stock to be issued to GE.

"Our decision to acquire GE's ownership is driven by our sense of optimism for the future prospects of NBCUniversal and our desire to capture future value that we hope to create for our shareholders," said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation. "We believe the terms of the transaction are attractive and have planned for this event by taking a number of financial steps to prepare our balance sheet. We believe we are in a strong and unique position to continue to grow and build value in our combined company."

Comcast was founded in Tupelo, Mississippi back in June 1963 by Ralph Roberts, father of the current CEO, Brian Roberts, as American Cable Systems. The company was then incorporated in Pennsylvania as Comcast, short for Communication and Broadcast, a year later. Now the company is not only the nation's largest cable operator with more than 22 million subscribers, but a media and entertainment company.

Comcast had to "tread lightly" when it bought the first portion of NBCUniversal by adopting a "hands off" policy towards the news division to ensure its independence. The company also agreed to carry networks aimed at minority audiences, and remove itself from making management decisions relating to Hulu. The company also agreed to "net neutrality" provisions which included making NBC's programming available to other cable operators.

The new acquisition deal may not require Comcast to file for antitrust approval with either the Justice Department or the Federal Communications Commission given the company was given the green light in the first 2011 acquisition deal. The only way that the government may need to investigate again is if Comcast violates its consent decree, one antitrust expert said.


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  • -6 Hide
    seels , February 13, 2013 11:28 PM
    Apple should now buy NBC, Comcast, and GE altogether. Acquire them all! Crush the competition! Muahaha. Buy copycats Google and Samsung too. Ha.
  • 2 Hide
    robochump , February 13, 2013 11:47 PM
    ^^^You provoke the iHaters! ;)  Anyways this is another step with Comcast sticking it to Dish service providers. If Comcast owns enough networks it may screw Dish providers by charging more to offer their programming. :-P
  • 0 Hide
    Kami3k , February 14, 2013 12:27 AM
    Great, more reason for them to have BS data caps and yet claim to have so much speed.

    Yea well that speed is great but rendered useless when I can reach the cap in a hour because of it.
  • Display all 12 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    meluvcookies , February 14, 2013 12:44 AM
    Hopefully this doesn't mean that Comcast will shut down the availability of online news broadcasts.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 14, 2013 12:45 AM
    Stop hating, if you dont like em dont use them. Go back to dial up. I get 110 mbs speeds with them and dont need their cable. Can watch everything online now. If you know where to look you an watch anything anytime without the cable box.
  • 2 Hide
    Netherscourge , February 14, 2013 12:48 AM
    And to pay for this purchase, Comcast is raising all our rates again!
  • 2 Hide
    v90k , February 14, 2013 2:00 AM
    @Kami3k wow so you can consume 250 Gb in an hour?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 14, 2013 2:51 AM
    The only thing they are on the cutting edge of is raising rates, theyhave nothing to do with innovation. Their monopoly is the only reason they have enough cash to increase their monopoly.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , February 14, 2013 5:12 AM
    I have stock with GE I wonder what this will do to it.
  • 0 Hide
    ubercake , February 14, 2013 10:10 AM
    When will anti-trust laws start to kick in with these cable providers? For most of us, it's choose one of two. For some of us, there's only one choice.
  • 0 Hide
    chomlee , February 14, 2013 1:38 PM
    ubercakeWhen will anti-trust laws start to kick in with these cable providers? For most of us, it's choose one of two. For some of us, there's only one choice.

    I would like to know how many congressmen comcast has in their pockets. I just switched to directTV because comcast raised my rates. Unfortunately I was forced to keep internet because they are the only decent choice in my area. Look at all the changes in the laws that comcast has had their hands in over the last 20 years. Its rediculous that the country voted for regulation on the cable industry 15 years ago forcing competition but yet that law got squashed by some congressmen paid off by the cable companies.

    What scares me now is that they might have a large stake of Hulu now and they will in tern be limiting the way you get downloadable content. If they had their way, no content could be downloadable on the web and only accessable through them for a fee.

    Lets face it, getting tv programing via cable should be in the stone age by now and the only reason why we cant just get all our programing by using something like a roku or apple tv box is because of the cable companies influence on how that media will be distributed.
  • 0 Hide
    chomlee , February 14, 2013 1:44 PM
    alidanI have stock with GE I wonder what this will do to it.

    Well, I guess it was anounced yesterday and the stock went up 3% I made some decent money myself but I would gladly give it back if it meant that comcast would begin to be looked at as a monopoly.
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