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Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA; CMCSK) and General Electric (NYSE: GE) yesterday closed their transaction to create a joint venture, NBCUniversal, LLC. Under the terms of the transaction, GE contributed to the joint venture NBC Universal, Inc.'s businesses, including its cable networks, filmed entertainment, televised entertainment, theme parks, and unconsolidated investments. Comcast contributed its cable networks, including E!, Versus and the Golf Channel, its regional sports networks, certain digital media properties, and made a payment to GE. The new company is 51 percent owned by Comcast, 49 percent owned by GE, and managed by Comcast. It maintains its headquarters in New York City.
Comcast Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian L. Roberts said, "This transaction brings together the rich traditions of some of the world's most well known and respected entertainment, news and sports brands at NBCUniversal with the technology and consumer reach of Comcast, creating the ideal entertainment and distribution company. We are very appreciative of all of the hard work that Jeff Immelt and his team at GE put into this transaction over the past year and are thrilled to have the highly talented team at NBCUniversal be a part of the Comcast family."
GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said, "NBCU has been a great business for GE over the past 20 years, generating an average annual return of 11 percent. Reducing our ownership stake to 49 percent allows GE to continue sharing in NBCU's growth while also providing significant cash to invest in our high-technology infrastructure businesses. I want to express GE's and my special thanks to the talented and dedicated employees of NBCU who have built a world-renowned business and are its heart and soul. We are excited by the growth opportunities ahead for NBCUniversal under Brian Roberts, Steve Burke and the Comcast team's leadership."
Morgan Stanley served as lead financial advisor to Comcast with UBS and BofA Merrill Lynch acting as co-advisors. Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as Comcast's legal advisors. J.P. Morgan was lead financial advisor to GE with Goldman Sachs and Citi acting as co-advisors. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP was GE's and NBCUniversal's legal advisor.