The U.S.'s largest cable company may soon become one of its largest content firms, as well. Quoting a source close to the merger, CNBC.com reports that Comcast and General Electric have agreed on a deal that will see the former become the majority owner of NBC Universal.
CNBC.com's source claims there is "nothing left to do but process paper," and that the deal will be completed tomorrow morning. However, the Federal Communications Commission may take "more than a year" to give its go-ahead—a move the site views as likely.
Right now, General Electric has an 80% stake in NBC Universal, and France's Vivendi Universal Entertainment owns the remaining 20%. CNBC.com says the impending deal will involve Vivendi selling its entire stake and NBC Universal being spun into a new entity, in which Comcast will have a majority stake. Comcast will merge its current content business with the new entity, as well.
To give you an idea of the sums involved, the story says GE's stake alone is worth "about $30 billion," and Vivendi's 20% stake adds up to another $5.8 billion. The transaction will also involve about $9 billion worth of debt. Nevertheless, Comcast could eventually find itself owning all of NBC Universal: the report adds that GE might "sell all or part of its stake in the new venture to Comcast within seven years."
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