December 03, 2009, 7:39 PM — A long-rumored merger has finally become a reality. Comcast and General Electric announced Thursday morning they would enter into a partnership venture that would merge NBC Universal with Comcast's cable networks, regional sports networks and other properties. Comcast would own 51 percent of the new venture, GE would own 49 percent, and the new entity would be managed by Comcast.
"The combination of assets creates a leading media and entertainment company with the proven capability to provide some of the world's most popular entertainment, news and sports content, movies and film libraries to consumers anytime, anywhere," the two companies said in a joint statement.
According to the valuation of the deal by the two companies, the new Comcast-NBC Universal entity would create a media company worth just over $37 billion. While a significant amount of money, the deal is a far cry from the $350 billion valuation of the AOL Time Warner deal nine years ago. No doubt many parallels will be drawn between Thursday morning's deal and the now-failed AOL Time Warner merger, which is still considered the largest corporate merger in history. But these two deals are not the same, and are operating in vastly different environments especially where online media is concerned. I would argue that Thursday's deal has the potential to reshape the American entertainment landscape in a way that AOL Time Warner never could.
Here are a few questions about this deal that have got me scratching my head this morning.
What properties are included in the deal?