General Electric and Vivendi have agreed to a $5.8 billion valuation for the latter’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal, according to multiple reports, making the prospect of a Comcast-NBC joint venture more likely.
By agreeing to a purchase price for Vivendi’s stake, GE can move forward with a separate deal to create a joint venture between Comcast and NBC that is valued around $30 billion. Under the terms of that deal, Comcast would own 51 percent of the new entity, which would combine NBC Universal’s broadcast network, theme parks, movie studio, and cable-television channels USA, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC with Comcast cable networks E! Entertainment, Versus and Golf Channel.
Today’s news comes about a week after GE CEO Jeff Immelt met with Vivendi head Jean-Bernard Levy in Paris to discuss the price and structure of a deal. At that time, the parties were reported to be about $500 million apart in what they believed the stake to be worth.
The companies also differed on when the purchase would go through. Vivendi was looking for some cash upfront in case GE’s deal with Comcast didn’t pass regulatory review, while GE wanted to hold off on a transaction until it was ready to sign off on the Comcast-NBC joint venture. According to a Bloomberg report, the deal comes with some concessions to quell these fears. GE has reportedly agreed to pay up to $2 billion to Vivendi if the Comcast-NBC transaction isn’t completed by the end of next year.