Analysts welcome Comcast deal

Analysts have broadly welcomed US cable operator Comcast’s long-awaited deal to acquire majority control of NBC Universal from General Electric. The deal, which was announced yesterday, clears the way for Comcast to acquire full control of the company within seven years.

Comcast has acquired a 51% stake in NBC Universal from GE, following a deal with Vivendi to acquire its stake in the network and studio. The deal values NBC Universal at US$30bn (€20bn). Comcast will pay US$6.5bn in cash and will contribute cable channels including E! Entertainment and The Golf Channel, which it values at US$7.25bn.

The move will give Comcast control of the NBC network, which currently airs series including The Office: An American Workplace, 30 Rock and The Jay Leno Show, as well as its TV production and distribution arm, film studio and a host of domestic and international cable channels including Bravo, Sci Fi and the USA Network.

“In our view, the proposed investment makes strategic sense as these assets, as well as the studio production and library, provide a balance in the argument over the superior importance of either content or distribution in the media landscape,” stated Neil Begley, a senior vice president at credit ratings company Moody’s.

Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast told the CNBC news channel yesterday: The cable programming channels are really the best part, I think, of the media business. They have two revenue sources, very stable…and five different channels in the US in the Universal, NBC portfolio make over $200 million a year. So these are great businesses.”