NBC AND VIVENDI UNIVERSAL ENTERTAINMENT CLOSE MERGER

NBC Executives Dominate New 'NBC Universal' Structure

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- General Electric Co.'s NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment closed the deal on their long-awaited merger yesterday, according to a joint announcement by both companies today. The merger
The holdings of the new NBC Universal include TV networks, cable, local stations, theme parks and video, DVD titles and feature film assets around the world.
GE COMPLETES DEAL FOR VIVENDI UNIVERSAL ENTERTAINMENT
Acquisition to Form Fourth-Largest Media Company NBC Universal

creates NBC Universal, a global media and entertainment enterprise with expected 2005 revenues of $15 billion.

Global holdings
NBC Universal combines broadcast and cable networks NBC, Telemundo, USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, Bravo, Trio, CNBC and MSNBC (jointly owned with Microsoft); film studio Universal Pictures; TV production studios Universal Television and NBC Studios; a stations group comprising 29 NBC and Telemundo stations; and interests in five theme parks including Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando.

International assets include video and DVD movie titles, TV programming and feature films in more than 200 countries; and TV channels in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

According to the announcement, shareholders of Vivendi Universal Entertainment 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. The deal leaves GE owning 80% of NBC Universal, while Vivendi Universal controls the remaining 20%.

Executive assignments
This is the executive line up in the new structure so far:

  • Bob Wright becomes chairman and CEO of the new comapny, while retaining his title as vice chairman and executive officer of General Electric Co.

  • 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 be in charge of the company's commercial and operational organizations.

  • Jeff Zucker, president of the NBC Universal Television Group, will oversee all TV programming, except for sports programming and Olympics.

  • Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, will assume responsibility for USA Network's sports programming.

  • Jay Ireland, president of NBC Universal Television Stations, will continue as chief of the owned-and-operated stations group.

  • Keith Turner, president of advertising sales for NBC, will become chief of the advertising sales operations for all of NBC Universal's broadcast and cable networks. His title will be president of NBC Universal Sales and Marketing.

  • David Zaslav, formerly president of NBC Cable, becomes president of NBC Universal Cable.

  • Jeff Lucas, president of Universal Television Group Networks, will be responsible for NBC Universal Cable Sales, reporting to Mr. Turner.

Ad sales haul
Last year NBC took in $3 billion for prime-time programming during the upfront sales period. For the entire calendar year 2003, USA Network grabbed $567 million in advertising sales and Sci-Fi Channel posted $217.8 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

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