Comcast gave NBCUniversal a $16.7 billion vote of confidence on Tuesday, agreeing to pay that sum to acquire General Electric’s remaining 49 percent stake in the entertainment company. The deal accelerated a sales process that was expected to take several more years.
Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast, said the acquisition, which will be completed by the end of March, underscored a commitment to NBCUniversal and its highly profitable cable channels, expanding theme parks and the resurgent NBC broadcast network.
“We always thought it was a strong possibility that we’d some day own 100 percent,” Mr. Roberts said in a telephone interview.
There had been some speculation back when Comcast was acquiring a controlling interest NBCUniversal that it might begin to, if not remove, at least reduce some of the overt Democrat-leaning bias at the network. GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is a huge Obama supporter and the head of that jobs council that never met, so it wasn’t surprising that the network moved so hard to the left when GE owned it.
There hasn’t been much of a shift thus far but there is quite a difference between owning 51% and owning 100%. Everything NBC does now reflects only on Comcast. And the network hasn’t been much of success story lately. Ratings have tanked, The Today Show fell from a lofty perch it owned for a long time and MSNBC routinely gets slaughtered by the Fox News numbers. The only solace has been that they get better ratings than CNN. With former NBC head Jeff Zucker trying to revamp CNN, that might not last long either.
It remains to be seen if Comcast thinks the bias is even a problem in the first place. The word “conservative” is tossed around a lot in articles about the company, but that’s usually in reference to its corporate culture and not its politics.