GE and Vivendi agree NBC Universal deal

General Electric has agreed to pay Vivendi $5.8 billion for the French groupís 20 per cent stake in NBC Universal paving the way for the conglomerateís planned sale of 51 per cent of the US media group to Comcast.

The valuation is at the high end of expectations and essentially equates to one fifth of the valuation the Comcast deal puts on NBCU, once debt is stripped out. However, it is slightly below the stakeís current valuation in Vivendiís books.

GE and Vivendi had been negotiating valuation since the French groupís annual window for exercising a put option on the stake opened on November 15. It was not immediately clear, however, whether GE would pay Vivendi the full $5.8bn upfront, or seek to stagger the payment over a period, given that the Comcast deal is expected to take as long as a year to clear regulatory hurdles.

The ultimate aim is for Comcast deal to buy a 51 per cent stake in NBCU for $30 billion.