Comcast is closing in on a joint venture of NBC Universal with General Electric now that the latter is about to strike a deal with Vivendi SA.
Comcast is standing at the alter waiting to consummate its marriage with General Electric over a joint venture of NBC Universal, but the sticking point has been GE’s negotiations with Vivendi, which owns a 20 percent stake in NBCU.
Vivendi had a window from Nov. 15 to Dec. 10 to notify GE on whether it wanted to sell its stake in NBCU. Late Monday, various media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press, reported that Vivendi is willing to sell its stake for $5.8 billion to GE.
GE, which owns 80 percent of NBC Universal, needs to buy Vivendi’s 20 percent stake and sell 51 percent ownership in NBCU to Comcast for about $5 billion to $7 billion in cash.
For its part, Comcast would also contribute cable networks such as E! and Style to a new NBC Universal JV with GE, raising Comcast’s bid to about $15 billion.
The new NBC Universal would carry $8 billion to $10 billion of debt and would have Comcast as its majority owner. Under the terms of the joint venture, GE would own a 49 percent stake but is expected to completely divest its holdings after a few years, according to The Associated Press.