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Vivendi Agrees US Entertainment Deal with General Electric

News, 09 October 2003

The merger of Vivendi Universal's US entertainment assets and General Electric unit NBC is on after the two parties announced a deal on Wednesday.

After a protracted auction of its stateside portfolio, French media giant Vivendi entered into exclusive negotiations with GE last month [WAMN: 04-Sep-03], but the two have only now signed a definitive agreement.

As expected, the two firms will forge a new media powerhouse named NBC Universal, of which GE/NBC will own 80% and Vivendi the remaining 20%.

The deal combines GE assets such as the NBC television network and Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo with Vivendi units like Universal Pictures. The resulting group will generate annual revenues of around $13 billion (€11.0bn; £7.8bn) and have an estimated value of $43bn.

Vivendi will receive $3.3bn under the deal, and NBC will take on $1.7bn of its partner's debt. The French group has been frantically trying to reduce its debt burden since the ousting of former ceo and arch dealmaker Jean-Marie Messier last year.

Data sourced from: Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff