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Is Comcast About to Buy NBC Universal?


Yesterday The Wrap went out with an exclusive story that Comcast is making a move to buy NBC Universal! According to the site the deal is already sealed and the cable giant is said to be shelling out  $35 billion for NBC Universal. A highly leveraged move since Comcast itself has a $48billion market cap and only about $4 billion in cash.

NBC Universal had $7.5 billion in revenues in the first half of 2009 and made $1.6 billion in profit.

Interestingly Comcast PR didn’t deny the news completely but said that the report is “inaccurate”. The LA Times says it’s possible Comcast may be looking at some sort of a joint venture or a stake in NBC Universal instead of an outright buy.

As of 11:43am eastern Comcast stock is down 7.52%

Not sure if this is good news or bad news considering the state of NBC’s local news. A highly leveraged buy such as this might not leave much room for improving local news and their ever shrinking budgets.

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  1. According the the NY Times, Comcast is denying that they have a signed deal. They may be one of several companies talking to GE about a deal for a stake in NBC Universal, since it’s believed that Vivendi wants to sell its 20% interest.

  2. Last night Jackie had switched her lipstick to Comcast red, and for once, I was sorry I have a plasma screen.

  3. Well Comcast owns the rest of South Florida, might as well own one of our NBC stations as well.

    I remember when i was really young in the early 1990s i would look in the TV guide and see at least 10 or 11 cable companies here alone! Now there are just a bunch of different variations of one.

  4. The latest unofficial story is that GE and Comcast are in early talks about a joint venture where Comcast would own 51% and GE 49% of NBC Universal. Comcast would contribute some of their cable channels. It’s very early and far from being finalized because it’s a complicated transaction and would only happen if Vivendi decided to sell its 20% interest.

    My question is, if this does get done, would they be forced to divest themselves of either a TV station or cable systems in cities where they own both? Or would they get around that by only owning 51% of NBCUni?

  5. one thing about Comcast, that isnt so with GE is that Comcast is very committed to South Florida. They have made many huge investments in this area, so perhaps they would be good for WTVJ.

    • Comcast is no different than any other mega-corp out to get the last dollar from their customers. They’ll probably scramble all NBC content just to force customers to get a box.

      • Well they would not be allowed to do that, since they use over the air public airwaves. Don’t just hate for the sake of hating.

        As you said, it would be in their best interest to make money, so NBC + Comcast might have a different take on NBC Miami than GE + NBC does. As I said, Comcast has made a lot more commitments here than GE has.

        • Graham, I don’t hate for the sake of hating (rather presumptuous on your part, isn’t it?). I hate (and that’s a pretty strong word) for good reasons.

          Comcast compresses their HD so it looks like crap, forces customers that want digital (uh, isn’t that pretty much standard these days?) to get boxes rendering the tuner you paid for in your TV worthless and so you’ll eventually cave in and purchase OnDemand, has atrocious customer service, and refuses to tell anyone what the standard monthly rates are for any of their services. As a prospective customer looking for answers, I can most assuredly say that Comcast sucks.

      • Funny thing, they are going to scramble all content so you will need a box for every TV hooked up to cable. All the cable companies are doing it. Prevents theft. OK.

        • Well they aren’t legally allowed to scramble HD versions of your local channels (as in they must provide them regardless of what cable package you have, if you dont have cable, they dont give it you). Also you must have a QAM tuner in your TV to get them.

          As for cable, they have done that so you need a box for cable in New England area, but that’s about it. They cant charge you for the basic cable box (which is smaller than a converter box). They can only charge you for DVRs, or any other special boxes.

  6. I switched from Comcast to DirecTV in June 2008. Anyone get p.o.’d when Big Red started switching channels around with little or no notice and then fobbing us (or at least, me) off when they said that some of the channels they removed from our lineup required us to upgrade to digital? Joe talks about atrocious…beyond mediocre is more like it.

    So now that Versus is gone from my lineup, if this whole thing goes through and, say, USA, Bravo, or Syfy are next to go (of course, the sheer popularity of those channels would probably preclude them from being pulled without viewer outrage at least fivefold that of Versus) then we’re gonna have some problems.

  7. NBC and Comcast is the same joke that Disney and Comcast was 5 years ago. It’s not going to happen. Thank god AT&T and Verizon got into the TV biz. You pay less and get more.

  8. Is anyone else having problems with comcast where the picture freezes for a couple of seconds, becomes pixilated and that sort of thing? why is that happening?

    • That is why they bought it. G4 was only in 5 million homes, and TechTV was in 30 Million.

      Comcast actually removed TechTV from its lineup to lower TechTVs value. TechTV was also profitable for the first time (something very hard for a digital cable channel to do) when Comcast bought it. G4 has not yet been that successful.

  9. If GE (and NBC) were smart, they would be getting rid of folks that have driven NBC into the ground… and bringing in competant executives that can work to turn the peacock network around for the better… instead of allowing NBC to slip away to Comcast. That’s just my thoughts.


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