NBC, Cablevision Poised to Ink $1.25bn Bravo Deal

04 November 2002

Network TV titan NBC, a unit of General Electric, is poised to clinch its purchase of the Bravo entertainment channel from Cablevision Systems, slapping around $1.25 billion (€1.25bn; £0.80bn) on the table, according to insiders.

Only one fifth of this sum will be in cash, the remainder comprising equity swaps centered around NBC’s stake in Cablevision unit Rainbow Media Holdings, which in turn owns Bravo. NBC will exchange the greater part of its stake – possibly all of it – for 100% of the entertainment channel.

But around $250 million will not be in funny money, with real dollar bills wafting toward Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer which holds a 20% stake in Rainbow.

The imminent deal, still being hammered out on Sunday night, comes after seven weeks of roller-coaster negotiations during which all was not sweetness and light. At one point, insiders report, NBC threatened to use its Rainbow stock muscle to elect new board members and challenge Cablevision management if they didn’t pretty-up the value of its Rainbow shareholding.

When inked the deal will give NBC its first cable entertainment channel, creating a substantial additional outlet for its comedy, music and drama programming. Meantime, insider leaks excepted, the lips of all concerned remain firmly sealed.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff