GE’s Immelt: NBCU-Comcast Discussions Are About Partnerships Or IPO

Jeffrey Immelt

GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt (pictured) admits the company is in discussions about NBC Universal’s future but says the conversations center on partnerships or, surprising some, an IPO — not an outright sale. But CNBC’s David Faber says his reporting shows GE is ready to consider NBCU a “non-core” and to “essentially say goodbye” by selling down from 80 percent to 49 percent and no longer have control of the asset. He reported Thursday that one scenario being discussed by GE and Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) was a joint venture pooling cable and broadcast programming with Comcast as the controlling partner.

Immelt’s comments: Answering a question at a meeting in New Delhi, Immelt said the context was the possibility that longtime partner Vivendi (EPA: VIV) might opt out. Vivendi has a 20 percent stake in NBCU. From the video on CNBC (embedded below): “We’ve had a partnership for many years. If for some reason, Vivendi decides — they’ve been a great partner — decides not to stay in the venture, we’ve said for a long time we would consider an IPO or other partnerships and activities that would strengthen NBC for the future. So that’s the context of any discussion and that’s where it stands.”

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