Comcast to buy GE's stake in NBC Universal for $16.7 bn; to gain full control

Betting on the immediate prospects on the entertainment industry, Comcast Corporation, the largest cable operator in the US, yesterday said it would buy General Electric Co's (GE) 49-per cent stake in NBC Universal (NBCU) for $16.7 billion, although it had the option to buy the stake in parts over several years.

Comcast, headquartered in the One Comcast Center building in Philadelphia, has acquired GE's stake more than a year ahead of its original plans despite the uncertainty facing the industry.

Comcast had initially planned to buy a larger stake in NBCU starting in July 2014 over seven years, funding it from operating cash.

The deal, expected to close by the end of March, values NBCU at around $34 billion, with about $5 billion debt.

The acquisition however will give it full control of 30 news and entertainment cable networks, including NBC, USA, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, and Hulu as well as NBC Universal Television Group, the Universal Studios and theme parks in California, Florida, and Japan.

Comcast said that it is also buying NBCU's office space in New York's best known landmark building, the 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and CNBC's headquarters in New Jersey, for a total of $1.4 billion.