NBC U, and/or parent company GE, is in deal-making mode, the NY Post reports. But it’s not sure about what kind of deal Jeff Immelt and Jeff Zucker want to make. Some scenarios via the paper’s Peter Lauria, who thinks Zucker is going to do a lot of whispering and plotting at Sun Valley this week:
- Sources have said that General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt is being coy when he says that NBC isn’t for sale. While Immelt might be opposed to an outright sale of NBC because of the large tax hit GE would take, sources said they think he’s interested in exploring a merger or spin-off – with Time Warner and Liberty Media mentioned most often as the likely suitors.
- Bankers are also interested in getting face time with Zucker in order to position themselves for a piece of the action should NBC be forced into an initial public offering. French conglomerate Vivendi owns a stake in NBC, and can begin exercising its $4 billion transferable put right in November and force GE to either buy Vivendi’s stake or float it to the public.
- One banking source close to NBC said the company is interested in exploring deals for its television stations, theme parks, Ion TV network and Shop NBC. This source also said to look for NBC, Disney and Hearst to talk about ways to simplify – most likely through some sort of buyout – the complicated ownership structure the three companies share in cable networks A&E and History. NBC has tried for years to gain control of those channels, but has come up short, according to sources familiar with the situation.
- NBC has also been active as an acquirer, purchasing Oxygen and the Weather Channel in recent months, and Zucker is expected to hear a lot of sales pitches this week as well.