Source: AP / The Huffington Post
LOS ANGELES — Comcast is buying the rest of NBCUniversal from General Electric several years ahead of schedule to take advantage of low interest rates and what its CEO calls a “very attractive price” of $16.7 billion.
The nation’s leading cable TV company also agreed to pay GE another $1.4 billion for other assets that include one of New York’s best-known landmarks, NBC’s headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The building also was the setting for the NBC comedy series “30 Rock,” a fictional version of the broadcast network that skewered the management of both GE and Comcast before airing its final episode two weeks ago.
Investors thought the move was good for both companies – GE because it got cash for its stake earlier than expected and Comcast because it will benefit more from the rising price of sports rights and other TV programs. With the NBCUniversal businesses, Comcast avoids solely being in the uncomfortable position of passing those costs onto consumers. That was one reason Comcast bought a majority stake in NBCUniversal two years ago.
Comcast Corp. also raised its annual dividend 20 percent to 78 cents per share and vowed to buy back another $2 billion in shares this year. Following Tuesday’s announcement, Comcast’s stock jumped 7 percent in after-hours trading. GE’s stock rose almost 4 percent.
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