First report early last night, Monday 11/30/09, this deal between General Electric and the French company Vivendi has gone from the speculation or rumor column to a done deal at a price of $5.8 billion. Now that the price has been agreed on, the final contract terms are being worked out.
This will deliver the 20% stake that Vivendi holds in NBC Universal and clear the way for GE to do a joint venture with Comcast, under which Comcast would acquire 51% of NBCU and become one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. The NBCU assets includes two broadcast networks, NBC and Telemundo, their major market O&O station groups, plus powerful cable channels like USA, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC and Oxygen. Comcast has its own cable net holdings, particularly various regional sports networks. Comcast already is the nation’s tops cable operator, with systems in 39 states with subscribers estimated at around 24 million.
For the record, nobody involved has made any statement to confirm the transaction but word is expected by either week’s end or early next week. Once the announcement is made. then the process of getting regulatory approval begins. That will not be without controversy, with opposition already declared by media watchdog orgs and John Malone’s Liberty Media.