How GE Birthed NBC in 1926

Timeline: The Peacock Network's Many Owners

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LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- With the acquisition of NBC Universal, Comcast becomes part of a long history of new owners for the Peacock network. General Electric is set to exit as NBC's owner -- for the second time. GE was an investor in NBC from its 1926 launch through 1932 and then owned NBC from 1986 to present.

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1919: General Electric Co. leads consortium -- GE, AT&T, Westinghouse, United Fruit (an early investor in radio technology) -- to form a radio manufacturer, Radio Corporation of America.

1926: AT&T exits broadcast ownership, selling radio station WEAF to RCA and dropping out of the RCA owners consortium. RCA forms National Broadcasting Co. (50% owned by RCA, 30% by GE, 20% by Westinghouse) to serve affiliates of its two New York stations -- WEAF (now WFAN-AM), over NBC-Red Network, and WJZ (now WABC-AM), over NBC-Blue Network. NBC delivers content to affiliates over AT&T long-distance lines.

1930: Justice Department brings antitrust action against RCA, GE and Westinghouse.

1932: Under consent decree, GE and Westinghouse agree to sell their stakes in RCA.

1943: To resolve antitrust issues, RCA sells Blue Network, which becomes American Broadcasting Co.

1926 NBC announcementEnlarge
1926 NBC announcement
1986: GE buys RCA, parent of NBC.

1987: GE sells RCA's consumer-electronics business.

1995: Westinghouse buys CBS. Westinghouse changes its name to CBS Corp. in 1997.

1996: Walt Disney Co. buys Capital Cities/ABC, bringing ABC and 80%-owned ESPN into the fold.

2002: Comcast buys AT&T's cable-systems business, making Comcast No. 1 in cable systems.

2004: GE's NBC merges with Vivendi's Vivendi Universal Entertainment (Universal Studios, USA Network), forming NBC Universal. GE gets 80% stake, Vivendi 20%. Comcast makes failed attempt to buy Disney.

2009: GE agrees to buy Vivendi's 20% stake in NBCU. Comcast then agrees to buy 51% of NBCU, leaving GE with a 49% stake. Comcast could buy GE's remaining stake over next seven years.

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