Comcast and GE in NBC deal

US CABLE group Comcast yesterday bought a majority stake in American media group NBC Universal (NBC) from industrial giant General Electric, creating a $37bn (&pound;22.3bn) media and entertainment giant.<br /><br />Comcast said it would acquire 51 per cent of NBC from GE in a joint venture, with the industry-to-finance conglomerate keeping the other 49 per cent. Management of the media group will pass to Comcast.<br /><br />NBC, valued at $30bn, is the world&rsquo;s fourth largest media firm after Walt Disney, Rupert Murdoch&rsquo;s News Corp and Time Warner.<br /><br />The deal will give America&rsquo;s biggest cable operator control of about two dozen cable channels such as Bravo, CNBC and SyFy, the NBC?Television network, local TV?stations, Spain&rsquo;s Telemundo network, the Universal Pictures film studios and two theme parks in Florida and California.<br /><br />However, the merger will be subject to tough scrutiny by competition regulators. <br /><br />Analysts said the tie-up would spark a wave of mega-mergers as other media companies look to grow in size, and that more entertainment will ultimately disappear behind pay walls.<br /><br />Comcast chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts said:?&ldquo;This deal is a perfect fit for Comcast and will allow us to become a leader in the development and distribution of multiplatform &lsquo;anytime, anywhere&rsquo; media that American consumers are demanding.&rdquo;<br /><br />GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt said: &ldquo;The combination of Comcast&rsquo;s cable and regional sports networks and digital media properties and NBC will deliver strong returns for GE?shareholders.&rdquo;<br /><br />Regulatory approval and closing of the deal is expected in nine to 12 months. <br /><br />GE will contribute its interest in NBC Universal to the new joint venture valued at $30bn. <br /><br />And Comcast will contribute its cable channels, regional sports networks and internet assets valued in total at $7.25bn.