Comcast buys rest of NBC Universal for $16.7bn
The purchase gives Comcast complete ownership of NBC Universal at a time when technology is radically reshaping the television and film industry. Comcast first bought a 51pc stake in NBC Universal, the company behind the eponymous network, in January 2011 for $ 13.8bn.
“This is an attractive price for us and it gives GE a lot of cash,” said Brian Roberts, the chief executive of Comcast. Although little-known outside the US, Comcast is a major force in the US television industry and is betting that NBC can sustain its recent run of good ratings. GE, a conglomerate whose operations span everything from medical equipment to jet engines, said that it will use the cash to increase the size of its share buybacks.
“We can accelerate our share buyback plans while investing in growth in our core businesses,” said Jeff Immelt, GE’s chief executive.
Shares in both companies rose in after-hours trading on Wall Street, with Comcast shares climbing as much as 9pc and GE’s gaining 4pc. “It’s an attractive price – Comcast is getting a good deal,” said Matthew Harrigan, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities. The deal will also see Comcast take control of parts of the properties that NBC owns including Rockefeller Plaza in New York and the headquarters of financial new channel CNBC in New Jersey.