Earlier: Comcast, GE Sign Definitive Joint Venture Agreement

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For more updated coverage of the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, please check Multichannel.com throughout the day.

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As expected, Comcast and General Electric have signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture that will be 51% owned by Comcast, 49% owned by GE.

Managed by Comcast, the joint venture will house NBC Universal businesses and Comcast's cable networks, regional sports networks, digital properties and certain unconsolidated investments.

Jeff Zucker, current president and CEO of NBCU, will be CEO of the new joint venture and will report to Comcast COO Steve Burke.

Under the terms of the transaction, GE will contribute to the joint venture NBCU's businesses valued at $30 billion, including its cable networks, filmed entertainment, televised entertainment, theme parks, and unconsolidated investments, subject to $9.1 billion in debt to third-party lenders.

Comcast will contribute its cable networks including E!, Versus and the Golf Channel, its 10 regional sports networks, and certain digital media properties, collectively valued at $7.25 billion, and make a payment to GE of approximately $6.5 billion of cash subject to certain adjustments based on various events between signing and closing.

The JV will be anchored by a portfolio of cable networks, topped by USA, Bravo, Syfy, E!, Versus, CNBC and MSNBC, and RSNs that will account for about 80% of its cash flow, according to the parties.

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said, "This deal is a perfect fit for Comcast and will allow us to become a leader in the development and distribution of multiplatform ‘anytime, anywhere' media that American consumers are demanding," said Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts in a statement. "In particular, NBCU's fast-growing, highly profitable cable networks are a great complement to our industry-leading distribution business. Today's announced transaction will increase our capabilities in content and cable networks. At the same time, it will enhance consumer choice and accelerate the development of new digital products and services. GE has provided NBCU with a great home and has dramatically and positively transformed the business. We are honored that under this agreement Comcast would take over the stewardship of this important collection of assets and are absolutely committed to investing in NBCU and ensuring that it is a vibrant, financially strong company able to thrive in a rapidly evolving marketplace by delivering innovative programming. We are particularly pleased to be creating this new joint venture with GE and [chairman and CEO] Jeff Immelt and to have their continued involvement."
A conferene call with financial analysts is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. (ET); one with the media will take place two hours later.
Check multichannel.com for more news about this transformative deal.

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