Comcast's bid to buy a controlling stake in NBC Universal from General Electric could be sealed next week if GE reaches an agreement with Vivendi, a source close to the matter said Wednesday.
An agreement between GE and cable television operator Comcast on the NBC Universal sale "should probably be announced next week," said the source, adding that "a deal has to be finished with Vivendi" first.
GE owns 80 percent of media and entertainment company NBC Universal.
Vivendi owns 20 percent of NBC Universal and GE needs a green light from the French media and telecom company before the sale of a controlling stake in NBC Universal to Comcast can go ahead.
The source told AFP that GE chief executive Jeffrey Immelt was in Paris on Wednesday to discuss the NBC Universal deal with Vivendi.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Comcast and GE have agreed on the terms of a deal that would give Comcast a 51 percent stake in NBC Universal with GE retaining 49 percent.
It values NBC Universal at 30 billion dollars and the Journal said GE and Vivendi "have been at loggerheads over the valuation of the stake." It said, however, that the gap is now narrower than 500 million dollars.
"It is possible that Mr. Immelt's conversations with Vivendi chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy will lead to a general agreement on a sale Wednesday or in coming days, although there would likely still be some details to hammer out," the Journal said.
Spokesmen for Vivendi, General Electric, Comcast and NBC Universal declined to comment on the talks on Wednesday.
NBC Universal's holdings include NBC, one of the four major US broadcast television networks along with ABC, CBS and Fox, financial channel CNBC, news channel MSNBC, other local and cable TV channels and Universal Pictures.
(c) 2009 AFP
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