Comcast eyes NBC stake

General Electric is said to have sounded out Comcast, the US cable operator, over the sale of at least part of NBC Universal if Vivendi decides to divest its 20 per cent holding in the group that it controls.

While Comcast denies any deal is in place, the move underlines General Electricís expectation that Vivendi will exercise its option to sell its 20 per cent holding in NBC back to the US conglomerate. The stake has been valued at between $4 billion-$6 billion and General Electric is believed to be exploring a number of options if Vivendi decides to sell, including a public listing, a sale of the holding to another partner, or even a divestment of the whole of NBC. If such a $30-35bn deal were done Comcast would be a strong candidate with Time Warner a possible rival.