GE’s NBC snags the bride Universal in deal with Vivendi:
- NBC and Vivendi said they intend to combine the assets into a new company, which would most likely be called NBC Universal, though a final deal has yet to be worked out. The companies expect to complete the last phase of talks by the end of the month.
A merger, should it come to pass, would create a major media player with $13 billion in annual revenues that would include NBC’s television network, an array of cable networks like MSNBC, CNBC, USA and Sci-Fi, and Universal Pictures, whose recent films include “Seabiscuit” and “The Hulk.”
It also would unite Universal Television, the studio behind the popular program “Law and Order,” with the network that airs it in the United States: NBC.
….”This deal makes sense because NBC needs to be in everything,” said Brian Abbott, a professor of marketing and management at Long Island University. “They need to be in motion pictures, publishing and music as well. This is a logical extension of their brand.”
Universal’s U.S. cable assets – USA, Sci-Fi and Trio – would join the NBC stable including the Bravo network and Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo. The new company would also have interests in five theme parks.
GE would hold 80 percent of the combined company, and Vivendi would own 20 percent. Wright, who is also vice chairman of GE, would head the new company. [AP]
One anonymous analyst said NBC and Universal fit like “my butt and a toilet,” which I presume is a good thing. Vertical integration marches on, and synergy, and stuff.