French media firm Vivendi Universal and General Electric have signed
an agreement. GE subsidiary NBC will take over VUE. The new entity
will be called NBC Universal. The merger has created the world's
sixth-largest media company.
The $14 billion merger has given NBC an 80 per cent stake in the
new company. Reports indicate that within the next three years NBC
Universal could go in for an IPO. The deal is not expected to face
problems from The Federal Communications Commission, the Justice
Department and the European Commission who will review the deal.
NBC will have the task of smoothing out an operation that has brought
financial troubles to Vivendi's past three owners: Japan's Matsushita,
Canada's Seagram and France's Vivendi. NBC is said to be confident
about moving into the motion picture business. The strong growth
of DVD sales has made studios a safe bet. VUE has had such hits
this year like the Jim Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty and the
true story Seabiscuit..
One decision that NBC will have to take is whether to retain or
sell the five Universal Studios theme parks. This is l not expected
to happen until the recession that hit the travel industry finally