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BUSINESS
December 1, 2009 | By Meg James
Media colossus NBC Universal is a giant step closer to being sold to the nation's largest cable company in a proposed $29-billion deal that could reshape the entertainment industry and lead to changes in how consumers get their movies and TV shows. The last hurdle in Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp.'s bid to become one of the country's most powerful entertainment companies was overcome when General Electric Co. -- which has owned NBC for nearly a quarter-century -- reached an exit strategy with its French partner Vivendi.
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BUSINESS
December 4, 2008 | Meg James, James is a Times staff writer.
French media conglomerate Vivendi plans to keep its 20% stake in NBC Universal -- at least for another year. Vivendi's decision Wednesday not to exercise an option to sell its minority interest eases a potential headache for General Electric Co., which owns 80% of the television network, movie studio and theme park business. GE has the right to buy Vivendi's stake before it is offered to the public. For GE, the timing would not have been ideal. The Fairfield, Conn.
BUSINESS
March 4, 2008 | Meg James, Times Staff Writer
Beth Comstock, the marketing executive who was dispatched to NBC Universal's headquarters two years ago but never fit into its culture, is returning to its corporate parent, General Electric Co. She will assume her previous job as GE's chief marketing officer and take on new duties. Comstock was sent to NBC Universal in late 2005 by GE Chief Executive Jeffrey R. Immelt to prod the company into the Internet Age.
BUSINESS
October 9, 2003 | Richard Verrier and Meg James, Times Staff Writers
The long and often tortured script for Universal Studios was put to bed Wednesday as French-owned Vivendi Universal and General Electric Co. finalized an agreement to marry their entertainment assets in a deal that could spur far-reaching changes in Hollywood. As was widely anticipated, the two companies agreed to create an entity that combines the Universal movie studio, theme parks and TV businesses, including the Sci Fi and USA cable channels, with GE's television operations.
BUSINESS
August 3, 2009 | Meg James
Not long ago, Jeff Gaspin was known inside NBC Universal as a "man without a country." The executive floated from job to job, collecting clunky titles such as executive vice president for alternative series, longform, specials and program strategy. No one can say that now. Last week, the man without a country gained an empire as the reserved 48-year-old executive was thrust into the No. 2 job at NBC Universal, directly under Chief Executive Jeff Zucker.
BUSINESS
July 7, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
NBC Universal and two partners said Sunday that they had reached a deal to buy the Weather Channel from Landmark Communications Inc., ending a drawn-out process that had attracted interest from several major media companies. The purchase price was about $3.5 billion, according to a person who asked not to be identified because the terms weren't made public.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 4, 2007 | Meg James, Times Staff Writer
Jeff Zucker, the fast-rising television executive who made his name as executive producer of NBC's morning show "Today," will be named chief executive of NBC Universal this week, according to four people at the company. Zucker, 41, will succeed Bob Wright, who has spent nearly 21 years building the company brick by brick, transforming "the peacock" from a stand-alone TV network into a sprawling entertainment empire with broadcast and cable channels, a Hollywood movie studio and theme parks.
BUSINESS
November 16, 2009 | Meg James
For more than a decade, Brian Roberts, the scion running the country's largest cable television system, has envisioned transforming his company into more than just a collection of -- as Wall Street calls cable -- "dumb pipes." So Roberts' Comcast Corp. has been steadily bulking up. First it became the conduit of television, then an Internet service provider and a telephone company. Along the way it has been building regional sports networks, launching entertainment websites and snapping up such cable channels as E, Style, G-4 and the Golf Channel.
BUSINESS
August 11, 2007 | Meg James, Times Staff Writer
Oxygen Media -- an independent cable channel whose owners include talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, Oxygen Chief Executive Geraldine Laybourne and billionaire Paul Allen -- is on the auction block. One potential suitor: NBC Universal. NBC declined to comment on the potential sale, which was first reported in the Hollywood Reporter. An Oxygen spokeswoman confirmed that the privately owned cable channel, which debuted seven years ago and is now available in about two-thirds of U.S.
OPINION
December 4, 2009
New Year's Day will mark the end of one of the unhappiest decades ever for the entertainment industry -- a span that saw piracy skyrocketing, music sales plummeting, home video revenue shrinking, mega-mergers going sour and audiences dwindling. The new millennium coincided with the dawn of a new digital era, one that empowers consumers and creators at the expense of the conglomerates that own much of the programming people watch on their television sets and listen to in their cars. Nevertheless, executives at Comcast, the nation's largest cable TV operator, believe it's a propitious time to take over NBC Universal, owner of the also-ran NBC network and hit-starved Universal Studios.
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