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Comcast Closing in on NBCU Deal

Report: Formal announcement imminent.

Comcast is close to annoucing a deal that would give it a controlling stake in NBC Universal.

A report in today’s New York Times says that “a formal announcement could be made sometime next week.”

This basically confirms the reports by TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman that the cable giant and General Electric owned unit had all-but-agreed on a deal and were in the process of due diligence. (Two weeks ago, executives from Comcast and NBC Universal met at 30 Rockefeller Plaza "to kick tires, scrutinize balance sheets and perform due diligence.”)

The Wrap said on September 30 that Comcast would get a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal – a detail that has not changed.

The Times also points out that the proposed deal is complicated by Viviendi, which owns a 20 percent stake in NBCU and has the right to sell its stake through an I.P.O., something Vivendi’s chief executive, Jean-Bernard Lévy hinted last week that it might do.

Since the first report of a Comcast-NBCU deal, other bidders – including News Corp. – have expressed interest. (Really though, is there a deal Rupert Murdoch hasn’t expressed interest in?)

But the Times notes that “talks between G.E. and Comcast have advanced far enough that a deal with another company was unlikely, people briefed on the matter said.”