Vivendi exits NBC in €3.8b deal

After nine months of negotiations and speculation, French communications giant Vivendi is poised to announce its exit from NBC Universal selling its stake to General Electric for $5.8 billion (€3.8b).
That deal will pave the way for GE to proceed with plans to put NBC Universal into a joint venture controlled by the US’s largest cable TV provider.
Speculation suggests that Vivendi brokered the deal last weekend and all three parties are rushing to announce the transaction on Thursday.
The deal would give Comcast control of the US's oldest television network, in addition to a raft of cable networks and Universal Studios including the movie studio and theme parks.
If granted regulatory approval the merged business would have assets yielding revenue of $51 billion.
Comcast currently serves 23.8 million US homes with its cable-TV service and 15.7 million homes with its internet services and has been pushing VOD.
According to reports Vivendi won’t receive its payment until the Comcast-GE deal closes but GE will have to make a partial payment of up to $2 billion if the transaction and its various regulatory approvals stretch too far into 2010.