Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) has denied news reports that it was hammering out a deal to buy entertainment giant NBC Universal from its parent General Electric.
Comcast (CMCSA), the largest U.S. cable company, failed in an unsolicited bid to buy Walt Disney Co (DIS). for $54 billion in 2004.
Comcast refuted the reports. “While we do not normally comment on [mergers and acquisitions] rumors, the report that Comcast has a deal to purchase NBC Universal is inaccurate,” Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury .
A GE spokesman declined to comment.
The fate of NBC Universal — which includes the NBC television network, Universal Pictures and the Universal theme parks — has been the target of intensifyng speculation recently. French telecom giant Vivendi, which bought a 20% stake in NBC Universal in 2004, has reportedly mulled its option to sell.
Under the deal’s original terms, Vivendi has the annual right to divest its stake during a three-week window starting Nov. 15 each year.
Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Lévy has publicly described the stake in NBC Universal as a “non-core asset.”
GE (GE) owns the remaining 80%, CNN’s Cheryl Robinson reported.
The rumored acquisition was reported on the media news Web site TheWrap, which placed the value of the deal at $35 billion. But a subsequent report by The Wall Street Journal quoted the cable and telecom company as denying any such plans. “While we do not normally comment on [merger and acquisition] rumors, the report that Comcast has a deal to purchase NBC Universal is inaccurate,” the Journal report quoted a Comcast statement as saying.