Vivendi Sells Partial NBC Stake to General Electric for $2 Billion

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Vivendi (VIVDY) sold a nearly 7.7% stake in NBC Universal to General Electric (GE) for $2 billion, the companies announced Monday. The sale is the first phase of a previously announced $5.8 billion deal, in which Vivendi is selling the rest of its remaining 12.3% NBC stake to GE as part of a joint venture agreement with Comcast (CMSCA).

Under Vivendi's agreement with GE, it won't release its remaining NBC stake until GE completes its joint-venture agreement with Comcast. That puts pressure on GE and Comcast to speed things along, following their announcement back in December that they would create a joint-venture with NBC Universal.

As part of the GE-Comcast joint-venture agreement, NBC Universal is to borrow $9.1 billion and allow GE to use the funds to buy out the remaining 20% stake in NBC from Vivendi, according to a CNN Money report.

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Vivendi is apparently dangling a carrot in front of GE and Comcast to get the joint-venture moving. Comcast previously agreed to pay GE $6.5 billion in cash for its 51% stake in the joint-venture and provide a truckload of programming from its cable channels and other operations, like its sports channel stations, the report noted.

While Comcast and GE may have their part of the deal lined up, anti-trust regulators are investigating the deal in a process that could take up to a year.