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CNBC: GE, Comcast in final stages of NBC Universal deal

Sources tell CNBC that a deal between Comcast and General Electric that would give control of NBC Universal to Comcast is near being finalized.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive on

A deal between Comcast and General Electric, which would give the cable giant a majority stake in NBC Universal, appears close to being finalized, CNBC is reporting. The deal would give Comcast 51 percent and GE 49 percent of NBC Universal, which is valued at about $30 billion. (Techmeme)

The deal would put Comcast right up there with Disney as one of the nation's largest entertainment companies, giving it control over NBCU's cable channels, such as Bravo and CNBC, but also the NBC and Telemundo networks as well as Universal's movie studio and theme parks.

It's a bold move for Comcast, given that the competitive landscape in broadband services and content distribution are in the midst of a major transformation that had the potential to leave a company like Comcast out in the cold over time.

As video content continues to transition to Internet platforms. the value behind cable television programming becomes diminished. Likewise, as wireless carriers continue to expand their broadband offerings for the mobile world, the cable broadband providers will have to fend off new competitors.

With this approach, Comcast could help drive the way viewers transition from traditional television to Web-based video content -something that would allow it to put its experience as a cable provider to work while also keeping its broadband service out of the "dumb pipe" category that offers nothing but connectivity.

It's also worth noting that there's also a nice little Web element to this transaction, something that Larry Dignan detailed in a previous post.

CNBC's source tells it that the only thing left to do to make this deal happen is to "process paperwork" - oh, and gain regulatory approval. The early speculation is that it could take more than a year to gain approval from the FCC but that it will eventually get that blessing.

Previous coverage: WSJ: NBC Universal valued at $30 billion; Stage set for Comcast-GE deal this week?

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