On December 3, 2009, GE and US cable TV operator Comcast announced a buyout agreement for NBC Universal. If the transaction completes, and pending regulatory approval, Comcast would own 51% of NBC Universal while GE would own 49%. As a part of the deal, GE intends to buy out Vivendi's 20% minority stake in the company.

NBC Universal is a media industry giant currently co-owned by General Electric and Comcast, with the option for Comcast to acquire all the outstanding shares by 2020.[1] It has 230 affiliated stations, produces television programs, distributes motion pictures, operates 26 broadcasting stations and global cable/satellite networks, and owns theme parks. GE owns 80% of NBC Universal, while French Vivendi SA owns the other 20%. Famous NBC Universal productions include 'Saturday Night Live', 'National Geographic', 'Today Show', 'House' and 'Deal or No Deal.' NBC Universal also owns film studio Universal Studios and has a majority stake in Universal Orlando.

On December 4, 2009, General Electric agreed to give Comcast majority ownership in NBC Universal, the oldest television network in the US.[2] In the deal, Comcast will merge its cable networks and some of its web assets with NBC into a joint venture, paying GE $6.5 billion for a 51% stake in NBC Universal.[2] GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said the deal will generate about $8 billion in cash to his company at closing.[2] Vivendi agreed to sell its 20% stake in NBC Universal for $5.8 billion.[3] The deal contains provisions that allow both parties to force the purchase of GE's remaining 49% stake through the next seven years at a 20% premium to the public market value, so that Comcast may take full ownership of the company.[2]

Major Divisions

NBC Universal Television Stations

This division includes 10 NBC television stations within the United States, 16 Telemundo Spanish-language stations, and one other independent Spanish-language channel. These channels reach almost 1/3 of US households and generate $1.5 billion in advertisement revenue.
NBC also produces various television programs including ER, The Office, Law & Order, Scrubs, Deal or No Deal, the daytime soap opera Day of Our Lives, and the Miss Universe pageant. NBC also provides Olympics coverage, NBC News, and NBC Weather.

In May 2008 NBC announced that it plans to restructure its television network in New York City to provide a 24-hour local news channel. If the restructuring is successful NBC plans to follow a similar path with its television stations in other major cities across the country.[4]

NBC Universal Digital Media

This segment distributes NBC material via the Internet and other digital media. In 2006, NBC acquired iVillage, ranked as the website most visited by women.

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures creates and distributes theatrical and non-theatrical films on a global scale. Universal's box-office hits include 'King Kong', 'Brokeback Mountain', 'Ray', 'A Beautiful Mind', 'The Pianist', and 'Lost in Translation'.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment

This division produces and sells home-entertainment products, particularly DVD versions of Universal Pictures' films.

Universal Parks and Resorts

NBC Universal also owns and operates theme parks in the U.S., Japan, and Spain. NBC owns Universal Studios Hollywood and is a partial owner of Universal Orlando, Universal Studios Japan, and Universal Mediterranean.

Trends and Forces



NBC's main competitors in TV services include CBS (CBS), News Corporation (NWS), and ABC (owned by the Walt Disney Company (DIS)). The viewer ranking of individual networks for the week between April 30, 2007 and May 6, 2007:
1) American Idol Wed - FOX - 28.75 Million Viewers
2) American Idol Tues - FOX - 26.73
3) Grey's Anatomy Thu - ABC - 21.23
4) House Tues - FOX - 21.12
5) CSI - CBS - 19.02
10)Without a Trace - CBS - 14.71
20)Deal or No Deal Mon- NBC - 12.09

The ranking above is an accurate representation of the average number of viewers per network. NBC ranks fourth behind all its main competitors.


In this industry, Universal Studios (NBC) competes with Columbia Pictures (Sony (SNE)), Warner Brothers (Time Warner (TWX)), Buena Vista (Walt Disney Company (DIS)), and 20th Century Fox (News Corporation (NWS)).
Respective major films include:

Columbia: Spider Man, The Da Vinci Code, Hitch.

Warner Bros: Harry Potter, The Matrix , 300, Batman.

Buena Vista: Pirates of the Caribbean, Cars, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo.

20th Century Fox: Star Wars, Night in the Museum, X-Men.

Universal Studios: Meet the Fockers, Bruce Almighty, The Mummy Returns.


In terms of website traffic, NBC leads in the number of visitors overall. The website for Fox's American Idol is the single most popular website for any individual program, however. NBC's major source of Internet traffic is iVillage, which NBC acquired for $600 million. In regards to websites geared toward women, iVillage has successfully held the top spot, though it has experienced a decline in visitors since 2005.


  1. GE 2009 Annual Report, page 73
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wall Street Journal, "Comcast, GE Strike Deal; Vivendi to Sell NBC Stake"
  3. Los Angeles Times, "Vivendi clears path for GE-Comcast deal"
  4. NBC To Start News Channel in New York, www.nytimes.com, retrieved May 21st, 2008.


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