Comcast and GE complete NBC deal



NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- It's official. The new NBCUniversal is finally open for business.

Cable company Comcast and industrial conglomerate General Electric announced Saturday that their deal to merge Comcast's cable networks with GE's NBC Universal entertainment unit was complete.

The new joint venture, dubbed NBCUniversal, LLC, is 51% owned by Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500) and 49% owned by GE (GE, Fortune 500). Comcast will manage the company.

The complicated deal, which values NBCUniversal at $30 billion, was first announced in December 2009. Comcast will pay GE $6.5 billion in cash and also contribute some of its programming assets to the joint venture.

The merger combines Comcast's cable networks, such as E!, Versus and the Golf Channel with NBCUniversal's struggling NBC broadcast network, as well as popular cable networks USA, Bravo, MSNBC and The Weather Channel. NBCUniversal also owns the Universal Studios film and theme park businesses.

The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice approved the deal earlier this month.

In a statement, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the merger creates "the ideal entertainment and distribution company." GE CEO Jeff Immelt added that the deal "allows GE to continue sharing in NBCU's growth while also providing significant cash to invest in our high-technology infrastructure businesses."

Comcast has long sought ways to bulk up even more in the entertainment business. It launched an unsuccessful hostile takeover bid for Walt Disney (DIS, Fortune 500) in 2004.

For GE, the move to trim its stake in NBC ends a long period of frustration for GE shareholders who did not believe that a ratings-challenged big media company fit in strategically with the company's energy infrastructure, finance and healthcare businesses.

And although the merger was approved by federal regulators, some consumer and media watchdog groups are still upset, namely because Comcast is already the nation's largest provider of cable television services.

"By controlling both information and the ways people access that information -- by cable, broadcast and the Internet -- Comcast-NBC can and will block competition, stifle innovation and silence independent, opposing viewpoints," said Josh Silver, president of nonprofit organization Free Press in a statement Saturday.

The one commissioner of the FCC who voted against the deal, Michael Copps, seemed to share those concerns.

"At the end of the day, the public interest requires more -- much more -- than it is receiving," Copps said in a statement earlier this month.

Still, the FCC and Justice Department did attach several conditions to the merger.

Comcast agreed to expand local news coverage, add more programs for Spanish-speaking viewers and offer Internet access to schools and libraries.

Comcast also said that NBCUniversal would no longer have a management role in Hulu, the online video site co-owned by News Corp (NWSA)., Disney and NBCUniversal. Comcast will continue to have a financial stake in Hulu, however.

CNN's Kristen Hamill contributed to this report. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,919.59 80.85 0.48%
Nasdaq 4,527.51 19.20 0.43%
S&P 500 1,981.60 9.86 0.50%
Treasuries 2.40 -0.00 -0.17%
Data as of 8:54am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 100.53 1.37 1.38%
Bank of America Corp... 15.45 0.00 0.00%
Intel Corp 34.34 -0.07 -0.20%
Microsoft Corp 45.33 0.50 1.12%
Facebook Inc 75.29 0.70 0.94%
Data as of Aug 19

Sections

Billionaire Richard Branson and 15 major business leaders from around the world are calling for an end to the Ukraine-Russia conflict. More

Small business owners say the economy is still their biggest challenge, which keeps them from expanding and hiring, according to a CNNMoney-Manta survey. More

Twitter is taking down accounts sharing images showing the murder of U.S. journalist James Foley by Islamic militants. More

Small business owners say the economy is still their biggest challenge, which keeps them from expanding and hiring, according to a CNNMoney-Manta survey. More

When hairdresser Mark Bustos isn't cutting the hair of fashion designers and real estate moguls, he's traveling around the world giving free haircuts to the homeless. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.