NEW YORK , PARIS , May 12, 2004 - NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE) have completed the creation of NBC Universal, a global media and entertainment enterprise with expected 2005 revenues of $15 billion. The announcement was made today by GE (NYSE: GE) and Vivendi Universal (Paris Bourse: EX, NYSE: V), the parent companies, respectively, of NBC and VUE.
NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. The new company's assets include some of the most recognized and valuable brands in the industry, such as television networks NBC, Telemundo, USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, Bravo, Trio, CNBC, and MSNBC (jointly owned with Microsoft); film studio Universal Pictures; television production studios Universal Television and NBC Studios; a stations group comprising 29 NBC and Telemundo television stations; and interests in five theme parks including Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando. International assets include excellent positions in the sale and distribution of video and DVD titles, television programming, and feature films in more than 200 countries; and distinctive television channels across Europe, Asia, and Latin America .
In completing the transaction, shareowners of Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE) received $3.65 billion of cash consideration, of which Vivendi Universal received $3.4 billion. NBC Universal assumed $1.7 billion of debt, previously included in Vivendi Universal's financial statements. As a result, GE owns 80% of NBC Universal and Vivendi Universal controls the remaining 20%. Beginning in 2006, Vivendi Universal will have the right to monetize its ownership interest over time at fair market value.
Bob Wright, GE vice chairman and chairman and CEO of the new company, said: "NBC and Universal are two successful and very profitable organizations with complementary assets and similar cultures and business practices. As a highly integrated company with outstanding positions across a range of media, the new NBC Universal represents a tremendous growth opportunity for our viewers, advertisers, employees, and GE shareowners."
Jeff Immelt, GE chairman and CEO, said: "Closing NBC Universal is another important step in the transformation of GE. Strategically, this business will have an advantage in content, so valuable in the future of digital media. Financially, it will provide a great return for GE investors."
Jean-René Fourtou, chairman and CEO of Vivendi Universal, said: "We are pleased to have an active and long-term ownership interest in NBC Universal, one of the world's most profitable and fastest-growing media companies. This transaction gives Vivendi Universal a 20% ownership interest in NBC Universal and at the same time enables us to record a total net debt reduction of approximately $6 billion. With its experienced management team and portfolio of valuable media assets, we expect NBC Universal to continue to benefit Vivendi Universal and its shareholders."
Ron Meyer, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios, will be responsible for Universal Pictures, the Hollywood studio operations, and the company's theme parks. Randy Falco, president of the NBC Universal Television Networks Group, will lead the company's commercial and operational organizations. Jeff Zucker, president of the NBC Universal Television Group, will oversee all television programming for the new company, with the exception of Sports and Olympics. Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, will assume responsibility for USA Network's sports programming, and Jay Ireland, president of NBC Universal Television Stations, will continue to lead the operations of the company's owned-and-operated stations group.
NBC UNIVERSAL ANNOUNCES ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Company to be Led by One of the Industry's
Most Stable and Experienced Management Teams
NEW YORK , May 12, 2004 - NBC Universal announced the organizational structure of the new company, which was formed today through the combination of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment. Bob Wright will head up the new organization as chairman and CEO, while retaining his position of vice chairman and executive officer of General Electric, NBC Universal's parent company. Wright will be supported by one of the most stable and experienced leadership teams in the industry.
Randy Falco assumes responsibility for the new company's overall commercial and operational functions, as President, NBC Universal Television Networks Group. Jeff Zucker adds responsibility for Universal's television production and programming operations, as President, NBC Universal Television Group. Ron Meyer, the former president and chief operating officer of Vivendi Universal Entertainment, becomes President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Studios, responsible for Universal Pictures, the Hollywood studio operations, and the company's Parks & Resorts division. Universal Pictures and Parks & Resorts will continue to be led by Stacey Snider and Tom Williams, respectively.
Dick Ebersol adds responsibility for USA Network's sports programming, as Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. Jay Ireland will continue to oversee the company's 29 owned-and-operated television stations as President, NBC Universal Television Stations. To enhance global growth, Brandon Burgess assumes the newly created position of Executive Vice President, Digital Media, International Channels, and Business Development.
Also reporting to Wright and assuming expanded responsibilities in their respective areas are the executives in charge of the company's corporate staff functions: Lynn Calpeter, EVP and Chief Financial Officer; Deborah Reif, EVP, Financial Structuring; Marc Saperstein, Senior EVP, Human Resources and Communications; and Lawrence Tu, EVP and General Counsel.
Television Group Changes
The new organization has a strong blend of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment leadership in significant positions in programming and distribution. Jeff Gaspin is appointed President, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment & Cross-Platform Strategy, and Kevin Reilly, as previously announced, is President, NBC Entertainment. Reporting to Gaspin are Bonnie Hammer, President, USA & Sci Fi Networks, and Lauren Zalaznick, President, Bravo & Trio Networks. David Kissinger has been named co-president, along with Angela Bromstad, of the NBC Universal Television Studio.
In key leadership support of the NBC Universal Television Group, former Vivendi Universal Entertainment Chief Financial Officer Frederick Huntsberry becomes Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Distribution; John Miller becomes Chief Marketing Officer; and Marc Graboff becomes Television Group Executive Vice President. Reporting to Huntsberry in his television distribution capacity are Barry Wallach, President, NBC Universal Domestic Sales & Distribution, and Belinda Menendez, President, NBC Universal International Sales & Distribution.
Television Networks Group Changes
Key leadership changes in the company's commercial operations include expanded roles for Keith Turner and David Zaslav, who assume responsibilities in their respective areas for all NBC and Universal properties. Turner is President, NBC Universal Sales & Marketing, and Zaslav is President, NBC Universal Cable. From Universal, Jeff Lucas will be responsible for NBC Universal Cable Sales, reporting to Turner, and Doug Holloway will be responsible for NBC Universal Cable Investments, reporting to Zaslav.
NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates the No. 1 television network, the fastest-growing Spanish-language network, a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.
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