- Vivendi Universal and General Electric Co. have reached an agreement to merge the French company's Hollywood studio, cable TV networks and theme parks with GE's NBC business, creating a media giant with about $13 billion in annual revenue.
....The deal will give NBC more weight in competing for audiences and advertising with bigger media heavyweights such as AOL Time Warner Inc., Viacom Inc. and Walt Disney Co. Vivendi gets help in its effort to reduce the heavy debt accumulated under former management while keeping a stake in the potential growth of the media business.
....The new company will include the NBC television network and its cable channels CNBC, MSNBC and Bravo and Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo as well as Vivendi's Universal movie and TV studios - which already make NBC's hit show "Law & Order" - plus the USA, Sci-Fi and Trio cable channels and several theme parks.
Universal Music Group, the largest music company, is not part of the deal and will be retained by Vivendi. [AP]
NBC joins the big boys as an entertainment monolith.