×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBCUniversal prepping for GE payout

Angelakis: NBCU saving cash to buy GE stake in '14

NBCUniversal is hoarding its cash ahead of a July 2014 deadline when Peacock parent Comcast needs to shell out for half of General Electric’s remaining stake in NBCU.

“The plan we have in place is to make sure that NBCUniversal will generate the free cash flow and capacity so when that happens (it) will have the ability to redeem those shares or buy back those shares internally,” Comcast chief financial officer and vice chairman Michael Angelakis told investors at a media conference Thursday.

All Comcast’s billions of dollars in stock buybacks and dividend payouts, therefore, have been channeled through cable operations.

Comcast formally acquired its 51% controlling stake in NBCU in January 2011. The agreement gave seller General Electric the right to force a purchase of half of its 49% stake in 2014, and the rest seven years later, as Angelakis reminded investors at the Citi Entertainment conference. “So far so good. If I had a piece of wood to knock on I’d knock on it,” he said.

The structure of that deal means that the cable giant has a lot riding on the performance of NBCU. Angelakis continues to call the Peacock’s cablers the “crown jewels” and the reason they bought the business. The NBC broadcast network is the asset with the most potential.

“It’s been in fourth place for a really long time,” he said. “We need to move it forward to a higher level. If we do, there will be a real swing in profitability.”

Angelakis was bullish on the theme park business, noting that it is powering ahead. NBCU last year acquired full control of Universal Studios Orlando operation from its private equity partner, Blackstone Group.

But at the Universal studio, he acknowledged, there’s a big gap from “where we were several years ago” to present. “I don’t know if we can get back to that level, especially with the DVD market (softer) but we know we can do better than where we are today,” he said.

Angelakis was upbeat on a sweeping, ten-year cable carriage deal with Disney that was unveiled Wednesday. The long span of the pact will give Comcast some consistency on pricing going forward. And the range of programming and outlets it covers will allow the cabler to adapt and compete in a fast-changing environment.

“How can we utilize the Disney suite of services over many platforms — in the home, outside the home, linear on demand. And it’s really I think where we are going,” he said.

More TV

  • FICG Names Estrella Araiza As New

    Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

    The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival. She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM. Araiza [...]

  • AGS2 Key Art, Image IDs: AGS2_081218_2727,

    Starz Releases 'American Gods' Season 2 Trailer (Watch)

    Starz has released a second season trailer for “American Gods,” which returns to the cabler Mar. 10, depicting the brewing war between Gods old and new in the series based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name. “When people first came to America they brought us with them,” the trailer begins, flashing images of [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Kenan Thompson

    NBC Orders Comedy Pilots 'Saving Kenan' and 'Like Magic'

    NBC has ordered comedies “Saving Kenan” and “Like Magic” to pilot. “Saving Kenan” is a single-camera comedy starring “Saturday Night Live” veteran Kenan Thompson as a “newly widowed dad determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives.” Jackie Clarke will serve as writer and [...]

  • The First -- "The Choice" -

    'The First' Canceled at Hulu After One Season

    Hulu has grounded the space exploration drama “The First” after one season, Variety has confirmed. The series hailed from Beau Willimon and starred Sean Penn and Natascha McElhone in Penn’s first regular television role. “The First” was set in the near future and followed the first human mission to Mars. Hulu gave the show a straight-to-series order in [...]

  • Nicole Maines Supergirl Trans Hollywood Portrait

    TV Roundup: 'Supergirl' Drops First Look at Nicole Maines as TV's First Trans Superhero

    In today’s TV News Roundup, The CW releases a first look at Nicole Maines on “Supergirl” and Variety unveils an exclusive look at Gabriel Iglesias’ new comedy special.  FIRST LOOKS truTV has released the first trailer for season 2 of Emmy-nominated series “At Home with Amy Sedaris.” The variety sketch comedy returns Tuesday, Feb. 19 at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content