NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment Unite to Create NBC Universal
New Company Comprises No. 1 TV Network, Leading Film Studio, Portfolio of
Entertainment, News, and Spanish-language TV Networks, And Renowned Theme Parks
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-Rene 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
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.
Please refer to separate press release for details regarding the new company's
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.
CONTACT: NBC Universal
Cory Shields, 212-664-3457
Rebecca Marks, 212-664-3457
Susan Fleishman, 212-664-3457
Antoine Lefort, 33-0-1-71-71-11-80
Agnes Vetillart, 33-0-1-71-71-30-82
Alain Delrieu, 33-0-1-71-71-10-86
Flavie Lemarchand, 212-572-1118