Not Worried About NBC Prime Time: Comcast to Buy GE Out of NBC Universal

Ratings at Flagship Have Waned Again Without NFL and 'The Voice'

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Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable company, will buy out General Electric Co.'s remaining stake in NBC Universal for $16.7 billion in cash.

Giancarlo Esposito on 'Revolution'
Giancarlo Esposito on 'Revolution' Credit: NBC

The deal also involves Comcast buying GE's 30 Rock building and CNBC's headquarters for $1.4 billion, the Philadelphia-based company said today. The enterprise value of NBC Universal is now $39.1 billion, up from $37.5 billion when Comcast bought a controlling stake in 2011.

Comcast bought a 51% stake in NBC on Jan. 29 of that year for $13.8 billion in cash and assets. Since then, the company has benefited from improving prime-time ratings among 18- to 49-year-olds at the broadcast network and better-than-expected advertising revenue from the Olympics.

Comcast Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis had said in September that the company was considering purchasing the remainder of NBC. The network has relied on hit shows such as "Sunday Night Football," "The Voice" and "Revolution" to boost ratings over the past year, following years of last-place showings.

With the football season over and "The Voice" between cycles, however, NBC has endured a spate of bad ratings. It recently canceled the drama "Do No Harm" after just two episodes and saw "Smash," often called a "baby" of NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt, return to ratings some 60% lower than its season premiere a year ago and 25% below the first-season finale.

~Bloomberg News and Ad Age staff~

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