Comcast will acquire GE’s entire 49% common equity stake in its NBCUniversal joint venture with the company for approximately $16.7 billion. Additionally, NBCUniversal will purchase from GE the properties used by NBCUniversal at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and CNBC’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ for approximately $1.4 billion.
Brian L. Roberts (Chairman and CEO, Comcast): Our decision to acquire GE’s ownership is driven by our sense of optimism for the future prospects of NBCUniversal and our desire to capture future value that we hope to create for our shareholders.
The joint venture includes NBCU’s cable networks, filmed entertainment, televised entertainment, theme parks, and unconsolidated investments, and Comcast’s cable networks, including E!, Versus and the Golf Channel, its ten regional sports networks, and certain digital media properties. An agreement announced by the two companies in December 2009 reduced GE’s holding in NBCU from 80% to 49% and made Comcast the majority partner.
The acquisition accelerates GE’s divestiture ahead of a redemption period that would have begun in July 2014. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of GE and Comcast and remains subject to customary closing conditions, which are expected to be satisfied before the end of the first quarter of 2013.
The transactions will be funded with $11.4 billion of cash on hand, $4.0 billion of subsidiary senior unsecured notes to be issued to GE, $2.0 billion of borrowings under Comcast and/or subsidiary bank credit facilities and $725 million of subsidiary preferred stock to be issued to GE.
Morgan Stanley was financial advisor to Comcast and Davis Polk & Wardwell was the company’s legal advisor. J.P. Morgan provided financial advice to GE, and Weil Gotshal & Manges was the company’s legal advisor. In addition, Goldman Sachs, Centerview Partners, and CBRE provided strategic advice related to the transaction.
[Image courtesy: NBC Universal]