A media IPO — in this market?? That’s the idea both Vivendi and GE, co-owners of NBC Universal, are floating publicly. In remarks made in London today, Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy reportedly said of an IPO for NBCU “Why not?” and “Maybe that’s what will happen.” Sure, his wording was casual and non-committal, but he did get as specific as saying that an IPO, if it did occur, would probably be in New York.
Here’s the actual quote:
“It’s part of the thinking we had back in 2003 when we created NBCU. One way for Vivendi to exit would be through a flotation on the stock market and maybe that’s what will happen.”
While Levy’s vague comments have been broadly picked up already, it’s worth noting their proximity to something similar said by GE CEO Jeff Immelt at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco last week. Immelt’s GE owns 80 percent of NBCU, while Vivendi owns 20 percent. Asked about a widely discussed potential deal to sell a majority stake to Comcast, Immelt replied, instead, about an IPO: “We’ve done all our planning to see whether or not an IPO would make sense,” he said (see video from the session embedded below; the stuff about NBC comes after minute seven). “That would be fine.”