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Vivendi holds on to its 20% stake in NBC

December 15, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Vivendi decided to keep its 20% stake in entertainment company NBC Universal and agreed with partner General Electric Co. to extend their shareholder agreement, the French media and telecommunications group said Thursday.

Vivendi said it would not exercise an option to sell part of its holding in January.

Paris-based Vivendi and Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric formed NBC Universal in 2004, when Vivendi sold its U.S. cable channels, Universal Pictures film studio and theme parks to General Electric's NBC unit.

General Electric holds the remaining 80% of the venture, which also owns the NBC broadcast network, the third-ranked U.S. channel.

Vivendi's right to ask for a share sale of NBC Universal was expanded and now can be exercised in November of every year through 2016. General Electric's option to buy Vivendi's interest can be exercised in May of each year from 2011 to 2017 with a minimum price of $8.3 billion. The purchase amount will increase each year from May 2009 and is based on the U.S. consumer price index, Vivendi said.

Vivendi also has annual options to sell portions of its holding to General Electric. The size of the option was raised to $4 billion from $3 billion for the first year and remains $4 billion in subsequent years.

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