Comcast will acquire the remaining 49 percent of NBCUniversal from General Electric for about $16.7 billion, the company announced on Tuesday.
The announcement comes roughly two years and two weeks after Comcast closed its deal to acquire a majority stake in NBCU for $30 billion, and represents a vote of confidence by the cable giant in its acquisition. TheWrap broke the news of merger talks in September 2009.
The deal also includes a major real estate transaction involving one of the country's most famous addresses: NBCUniversal will pay roughly $1.4 billion to purchase the property it uses at 30 Rockefeller Plaza — which provided the name of the NBC series "30 Rock" — as well as CNBC’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
NBCUniversal is one of the largest entertainment companies in the world, formed in 2004 when Vivendi Universal merged with General Electric's NBC. Its combined properties include the Universal film studio, the NBC broadcast network and a massive suite of cable channels, such as USA, Bravo and SyFy that drive the majority of the company's revenue.
“Our decision to acquire GE's ownership is driven by our sense of optimism for the future prospects of NBCUniversal and our desire to capture future value that we hope to create for our shareholders,” Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, said in a statement. “We believe the terms of the transaction are attractive and have planned for this event by taking a number of financial steps to prepare our balance sheet. We believe we are in a strong and unique position to continue to grow and build value in our combined company.”
The acquisition dramatically changed the television landscape and cost NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker and TV entertainment chief Jeff Gaspin, among others, their jobs. Zucker just took over as the new head of CNN.
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Comcast has streamlined the company's executive ranks since taking over, recently putting Patricia Fili-Krushel in charge of all the company's news properties, which include NBC, MSNBC and CNBC, and to place Bonnie Hammer in control of all the company's cable properties.
Comcast will pay for the deal with $11.4 billion in cash, $4 billion in senior unsecured notes, $2 billion in borrowings and $725 million in stock.
The Federal Communications Commission spent months evaluating Comcast's purchase of a controlling stake in NBCU, but the purchase of the remaining 49 percent required no additional approval.
At the time it signed off on the initial purchase, the FCC said Comcast was "acquiring the right to acquire sole ownership from GE and may exercise that right without further Commission approval."