GE, Vivendi Deal Clears Path for Comcast to Buy NBC


According to media reports, General Electric Company has reached an agreement pay French media conglomerate Vivendi SA a little under $6 billion for its 20 percent stake in NBC Universal, clearing the path for General Electric to sell a controlling stake in NBC to cable operator Comcast. Although the deal has been in the works for months, negotiations between GE and Vivendi are taking longer than the parties anticipated, with Vivendi apparently holding out for over $6 billion for its one-fifth share of NBC.

The companies are still finalizing terms of the sale, and no formal announcements have been made.

GE’s buyout of Vivendi’s interest in NBC Universal would clear the way for GE to sell a 51 percent controlling stake in NBC to cable operator Comcast, in a mega-deal valued at about $30 billion. By acquiring a controlling stake in a broadcast television network—as well as the network’s cable and online properties—Comcast will position itself as one of the United States’ largest entertainment conglomerates, in addition to already being the nation’s largest provider of broadband Internet services. The move also puts Comcast into the content creation business, with an integrated media business model not unlike another American entertainment giant: Disney.

Vivendi’s annual window to sell off portions of its stake in NBC Universal ends December 10; GE has the right of first refusal on any sale Vivendi wants to make. However, whatever price GE winds up paying for Vivendi’s share of NBC won’t impact Comcast: according to sources, Comcast’s agreement with GE locks in a price: if GE overpays for Vivendi’s stake, that money will come out of GE’s pocket, not Comcast’s. The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) GE will pay $5.8 billion for Vivendi’s stake.

Some critics and consumer rights advocates have decried the potential takeover of NBC by Comcast as giving the Philadelphia-based cable operator too much influence in the entertainment industry. On the Internet front, Comcast has already proven it is not above using traffic manipulation and forged packets to control what it customers can and cannot do on the Internet—the actions led to an FCC sanction last year. However, Comcast eyes the acquisition as a way to better compete with online, satellite, and mobile operators that offer TV subscription services, as users increasingly cut back or cancel their cable services in favor of online or mobile programming options.


From PUBG to Apex Legends, this is how battle royale happened

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in Twitch streaming and eSports.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Movies & TV

Bear Grylls goes interactive with Netflix’s Bandersnatch-esque You vs. Wild

Think you have what it takes to survive in the wilderness, Bear Grylls-style? You vs. Wild, an eight-episode interactive Netflix series that takes cues from Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, will let you prove it.
Movies & TV

Netflix confirms it won’t be a part of Apple’s new video-streaming service

Netflix has confirmed that subscribers to Apple's new video streaming service won't have the option to view Netflix content on it. Apple is set to unveil its new TV service next week.
Movies & TV

In the new Hellboy clip, a giant problem leaves our favorite demon unimpressed

Hellboy is returning to the big screen in April 2019, with Stranger Things actor David Harbour taking on the title role. Here's everything we know so far about the reboot of the franchise.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 teaser proclaims it's almost feeding time in Hawkins

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what movies and shows are leaving in April 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for April 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Movies & TV

Study up for season 8 with the best Game of Thrones theories

Season 8 of Game of Thrones is still on the horizon, meaning there's still time to brush up on the best theories about the show. Whether you're one of the last adherents of the Cleganebowl or a King Aerys truther, here are our top theories.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 trailer goes full ’80s with a monstrous finale

The first trailer for Stranger Things season 3 has been released by Netflix, and it offers a peek at what the kids -- and adults -- of Hawkins, Indiana, have been up to since the otherworldly events of the second season.
Movies & TV

Tarantino goes back to 1969 with first Once Upon a Time in Hollywood trailer

Sony Pictures has released the first trailer for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the ninth film from Oscar-winning writer and director Quentin Tarantino, which stars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.