Comcast’s acquisition of NBC is basically a done deal, says Sharon Waxman. (Of course, that’s what she said two weeks ago, too, but who’s counting).
Quoting an executive familiar with the situation, Waxman reports the two parties have “agreed to agree” to a deal, which will be formally announced in the next few weeks.
What will the deal look like? Comcast will own 51% of NBC, with GE hanging on to the remaining 49%. After 7 years, GE could be free of the company, reported the AP yesterday:
GE would be allowed to redeem some portion of its 49 per cent stake for cash after 3.5 years and again after 7 years, said the person, who was not authorised to speak publicly about the negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The cash would be generated by NBC Universal’s operations, although Comcast has agreed it could provide up to “mid-single billions” of dollars to backstop the purchase of GE’s remaining stake, the person said. Buying GE’s remaining stake would not be mandatory, however, the person added.
This is bad news for Comcast shareholders. While the inital reports made it seem like Comcast would only have to spend $6 billion in cash, the full deal will actually cost much more.
Liberty Media and News Corp. are rumoured to be sniffing around NBC, but that’s about it. Neither company is thought of as a serious contender. Yesterday David Faber reported on CNBC Liberty was hanging around just in case the Comcast deal fell through.