US cable and media giant Comcast is to acquire the 49% of NBC Universal that it does not already own from General Electric for US$16.7 billion.
Comcast said it would take full control of NBC Universal at the time of its original acquisition deal, which was completed in 2011, but had seven years in which to exercise the option.
“Our decision to acquire GE’s ownership is driven by our sense of optimism for the future prospects of NBC Universal and our desire to capture future value that we hope to create for our shareholders,” said Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.
In addition to its acquisition of the media company, Comcast is paying an additional US$1.4 billion to acquire the Rockefeller Center in New York and news channel CNBC’s facilities in New Jersey. “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 transactions will be funded with US$11.4 billion of cash on hand, US$4.0 billion of subsidiary senior unsecured notes to be issued to GE, US$2.0 billion of borrowings under Comcast and/or subsidiary bank credit facilities and US$725 million of subsidiary preferred stock to be issued to GE.