Comcast Corp to buy rest of NBC Universal from General Electronics in $16.7 bn deal

NBC

"Given that media stocks have gone up quite a bit, it's a very attractive price, a fair price because we had a formula buyout," Roberts, who is also chairman of the company, said in an interview with Reuters.

Separately, Comcast said it would increase its dividend by 20 percent and it would buy back $2 billion in stock this year. GE also said it would accelerate its own share buy-back program to $10 billion this year.

"People may have their own opinions on whether it's good or bad strategically, but it doesn't leave any unanswered questions financially. For a transaction of this nature and this size, it's a relatively low-risk structure," Brean Capital analyst Todd Mitchell said.

Since reaching the deal to sell its majority stake in NBC Universal, GE officials have made clear they eventually planned to exit the entertainment business entirely. So the moves announced on Tuesday culminate a long-planned exit from the entertainment business.

Comcast shares rose to $41.75 after the market close from $38.97 in regular trading.

LONG-HELD AMBITIONS

Comcast turned its attention to NBC after a failed $54 billion hostile takeover attempt of Walt Disney Co in 2004 that ultimately led to the resignation of that company's CEO, Michael Eisner, after more than 20 years on the job.

While Comcast held the title of the nation's leading cable operator by a wide margin, its status as a content player was always second tier, with middling networks such as E!, G4 and Golf forming the basis of its channel portfolio.

A source familiar with the situation said talks accelerated in July 2012 when NBC Universal sold its stake in A&E Television Networks for $3 billion. Comcast and GE were debating how to use the proceeds, with Comcast wanting to keep the cash in the company while GE wanted a dividend.

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