From CNBC.com -
General Electric and Comcast Corp have agreed on a valuation of around $30 billion for a joint venture between NBC Universal and Comcast, ironing out what has been a key obstacle in talks so far, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
The resolution of that issue brings the parties one step closer to an agreement, but French media conglomerate Vivendi, which owns 20 percent of NBC Universal, has not yet agreed to a deal, the source said.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the discussions have not been made public.
GE, which owns 80 percent of NBC Universal, declined comment, as did Comcast. Vivendi was not immediately available for comment.
The two sides have been in talks to reach a deal that would give Comcast a 51-percent stake in the NBC Universal venture.
Advisers have been trying to draft governance and exit provisions for GE’s 49-percent stake that would be palatable to both sides, sources had told Reuters previously.
Comcast and GE have now also resolved how to value the new entity after the deal closes, giving more clarity on how GE could exit its stake, the source said.
Valuating Comcast’s cable networks, Vivendi’s stake and the proposed new company itself had been a key issue for several weeks and was delaying the complex deal, sources had said.
Comcast wanted to reduce the value of NBC Universal and increase the value of its cable networks to minimize the cash it would need to infuse in the new company, the source said.
Comcast’s cash payment will now depend partly on NBC Universal’s financial performance. If the unit’s performance worsens before the deal closes, Comcast could end up paying less, the source said.
Under the terms being discussed, the venture would consist of NBC Universal and Comcast’s collection of cable networks. Comcast would also contribute between $4 billion and $6 billion.
Vivendi, whose stake would be bought out entirely, continues to be in talks with GE and is determined to get the best value for its 20-percent interest in NBC Universal, the source said. That valuation is still being discussed, the source added.