Page last updated at 06:26 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 07:26 UK

Comcast 'is in talks to buy NBC'

NBC peacock sign
NBC has been struggling with a downturn in advertising

Comcast, the biggest US cable TV provider, is reported to be in talks to buy a majority stake in the television and film company NBC Universal.

NBC Universal owns the NBC television network, Universal Pictures, cable networks such as Bravo and CNBC as well as the Universal Studios theme parks.

It is 80%-owned by General Electric and 20%-owned by France's Vivendi.

Several news agencies have said that Comcast is discussing buying 51% of the business, leaving GE with 49%.

It is reported that one of the scenarios being discussed would involve spinning NBC Universal off into a new company, which would also contain some of Comcast's channels such as the "E" Channel and the Golf Channel.

'Scared'

Comcast would pay between $6bn and $7bn to take a controlling stake in the new business, reports says.

But shareholders do not appear enthusiastic about the idea, which comes five years after Comcast's unsuccessful attempt to buy Walt Disney for $54bn.

Comcast shares fell 7.2% in New York on Thursday while GE shares dropped 2.7%.

"People are scared, they don't trust Brian [Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts], he's seen as an empire builder," said Glenn Greenberg of Chieftain Capital Management, which owns 29 million Comcast shares.



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