Friday, December 4, 2009

NBC-Comcast: Done Deal

Cable giant Comcast finally has its content deal, making official an agreement with General Electric Thursday morning that will give the largest U.S. cable operator a 51 percent stake in a joint venture that combines Hollywood player NBC Universal with Comcast's content assets.

The agreement values NBCU in its current form at $30 billion. This compares with the $43 billion valuation that formed the basis of the 2003 deal that created NBCU in its current configuration. However, that came before such recent acquisitions as cable network Oxygen and iVillage.com.

Comcast is contributing its cable nets, including E!, Versus, Golf Channel and 10 regional sports networks plus digital media properties. All this is valued in the deal at $7.25 billion, up from the previously expected $6 billion price tag. In addition, Comcast will pay GE about $6.5 billion in cash, up slightly from what Wall Street had pegged at $6 billion. The final cash figure will depend on adjustments made before the deal closes, including certain performance measures.

When combining the results for Comcast and NBCU, the revenue of the assets that the cable giant would control reached $51 billion in 2008, exceeding those of Walt Disney, Time Warner and News Corp.

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