Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider and 51% owner of NBCUniversal, has agreed to buy the remaining 49% from General Electric for $16.7 billion.
Regarding the surprise buyout, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts commented: “Pretty much in our opinion given that media stocks have gone up quite a bit, it’s a very attractive price, a fair price because we had a formula buyout. We feel many good things coming today and in the future and we wanted to get 100 percent of that for our shareholders.”
For an additional $1.4 billion, Comcast will acquire 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City and CNBC’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
So what does this mean now that America’s largest cable provider now owns one of the major broadcast networks? For consumers, this could mean a more mobile pay TV subscription. Since Comcast will be controlling all NBC content, there shouldn’t be any issue regarding mobile broadcast rights—at least for their own Xfinity customers. Other pay TV providers are slow to offer true TV Everywhere service, since mobile streaming rights are considered separate from conventional carriage and broadcasting rights.
For now, the FCC and Comcast’s main competitors in the pay TV market are staying silent over this blockbuster sale. This looks like a great deal for Comcast all around, which hopefully means more profit to invest in expanding its fiber optic/cable network in underserved areas.
Even now there are many areas in the country that can only access DSL, because many high speed internet providers find it too cost-prohibitive to build out their networks to cover those regions. Now that Comcast will be the sole owner of NBC Universal, the cable MSO should have all the capital it needs to expand their network—which will hopefully enable underserved regions to access the high quality TV, internet, and VoIP services they need to participate in today’s digital world.