Vivendi’s chief executive, Jean-Bernard Lévy, said at an industry conference last week that his company might seek to sell its stake in NBC Universal through an initial public offering. Under the terms of its agreement with GE, Vivendi has the right from mid-November to mid-December to sell its stake in NBC Universal. But analysts largely expect GE to reach a deal to buy Vivendi’s stake.
Talks with Vivendi may still fall apart, people familiar with the talks cautioned.
Other potential bidders have surfaced, including the News Corporation. But talks between GE and Comcast have advanced far enough that a deal with another company was unlikely, people briefed on the matter said.
Comcast and GE plan to take care of other deal matters, including presentations to credit ratings agencies like Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service, later this week, these people said. Even if a deal is completed by next week, it would still require regulatory approval, a process that could take several months.
If a deal is completed, it would help diversify Comcast’s holdings beyond its cable television operations, a longstanding goal for its chief executive, Brian Roberts. He has been heavily involved in the talks, these people said.