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Comcast buys remaining NBCU stake for $18b

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NEW YORK, Feb 12 AFP

February 13 2013, 09:45AM

Comcast Corporation has agreed to buy the remaining 49 per cent stake in media-entertainment giant NBCUniversal from its joint venture partner General Electric for $US18.1 billion ($A17.66 billion).

"This is an exciting day for Comcast as we have agreed to accelerate the purchase of NBCUniversal," Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts said on Tuesday as the two firms announced the deal ending the joint venture created two years ago.

The deal gives Comcast full control of the NBC broadcast empire, cable networks, filmed entertainment, theme parks, regional sports networks and certain digital media properties.

It calls for $US16.7 million for the NBCU brand assets and another $US1.4 billion for NBC's interest in the 30 Rockefeller Center office buildings in midtown New York City and CNBC's headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

The companies finalised the joint venture in January 2011, reducing GE's holding in NBCU to 49 per cent from 80 per cent and making Comcast the majority partner.

GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said the deal "allows us to significantly increase the cash we plan to return to shareholders in 2013, to approximately $US18 billion, and to continue to invest in our industrial business".

Immelt added: "For nearly 30 years, NBC - and later NBCUniversal - has been a great business for GE and our investors. We are proud of our stewardship of the business and our association with the NBCU brand."

NBCUniversal comprises NBC - the oldest of the four major US broadcast networks - financial news channel CNBC, news channel MSNBC, The Weather Channel, Bravo and the Spanish-language Telemundo.

It also includes one of Hollywood's most storied film studios, Universal Pictures, and theme parks in the US and Japan.

Besides being among the largest US internet service providers, Comcast owns several television channels including the Style Network, the Golf Channel and E! Entertainment Television.