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Vivendi Universal Entertainment to Enter Into Exclusive Merger Talks With NBC

2 Sep, 2003 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Vivendi Universal's (VU) Paris-based board of directors today granted permission for exclusive merger negotiations between its Vivendi Universal Entertainment division and NBC, which is owned by General Electric.

If consummated, the new media conglomerate would be 80 percent-owned by GE and 20 percent-owned by VU, and would boast $13 billion in pro-forma 2003 revenue, based on a portfolio that includes the NBC Television Network; distributor Universal Television; cable properties USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, CNBC, MSNBC and Bravo; film studio Universal Pictures and five theme parks.

Under terms of the proposed deal, VU shareholders would get $3.8 billion in cash and stock, while eliminating about $1.6 billion in company debt.

The announcement concludes a summer that featured bids and interest from numerous suitors, including Liberty Media Corp., Viacom, MGM, CBS and Vivendi's vice chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr.

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