Comcast buys GE’s stake in NBCUniversal for $16.7 billion

Posted: February 12, 2013

Comcast Corp., flush with billions of dollars from sales of assets and bonds in recent months, rapidly accelerated its acquisition of NBCUniversal, saying it would pay $16.7 billion for the 49 percent of the entertainment conglomerate it doesn't already own.

The Philadelphia cable giant expects the deal to close within the next six weeks. The seller is General Electric, which sold Comcast the first 51 percent in NBCUniversal in early 2011.

Comcast and GE were expected to operate NBCUniversal as a joint venture until at least mid-2014 and Comcast could have continued the joint-venture structure through 2018.

Brian Roberts, Comcast chief executive officer and chairman, said in a statement the "terms of the transaction are attractive" and that Comcast planned for the deal.

Comcast, through its NBCUniversal subsidiary, will acquire the NBC studios and offices at the storied 30 Rockefeller Plaza and the CNBC headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., for $1.4 billion.

"Never a dull moment," one Comcast executive wryly observed Tuesday.

At the same time, signaling that it would continue to return profits to shareholders, Comcast announced on Tuesday that it boosted its per-share dividend by 20 percent to 78 cents a year and would repurchase $2 billion of Comcast stock in 2013.

In after-market trading Comcast shares soared more than 8 percent, or $3.25 a share, to $42.22. Comcast, in yet a third announcement on Tuesday, released its fourth-quarter earnings a day early.

According to it, Comcast's fourth-quarter revenue rose 6 percent to $15.9 billion and its net income jumped to $1.8 billion from $1.5 billion in the year-ago period.

For the year, Comcast generated $62.6 billion in revenue - including NBCUniversal - and earned $7.9 billion in net income.

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