News came out today that a price for the Vivendi-owned portion of NBC has been agreed upon with GE. This was an important hurtle to the much rumored purchase of NBC-Universal by Comcast. Why are we, a motorsports blog, talking about television media industry news? Comcast is the parent company of the Versus network which airs the IZOD IndyCar Series along with ABC. For 2010, ABC will air five races, but the other twelve races will be broadcast on Versus.
Here’s an excerpt from the article Vivendi, GE Agree on NBC Price, Paving Way for Deal on Bloomberg.com:
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) — General Electric Co. and Vivendi SA agreed on a $5.8 billion valuation for the French company’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions, paving the way for Comcast Corp. to take control of the U.S. media group.
A deal with Vivendi would allow GE, NBC Universal’s 80 percent owner, to create an entertainment joint venture controlled by Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company. Final agreements on both transactions may be announced as soon as this week, said one of the people, who declined to be named because the discussions are private.
As of September 1st, DirecTV discontinued coverage of the Versus network as a consequence of the failed negotiations between the network and satellite TV provider. The acquisition of NBC-Universal could put Comcast in a far more powerful position in their negotiations with DirecTV. Not only that, in future seasons, it may give ABC competition for the broadcast rights to the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. We’ll simply have to wait and see what the regulators have to say about the purchase.
Its official as per an article on CNN.com:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — General Electric and Comcast announced a joint venture worth a combined $37.25 billion on Thursday that will give the cable company eventual control of NBC Universal.