General Electric is in talks to merge NBC Universal with Comcast's content assets and spin off a new company -- a much lower-cost venture than a complete takeover of NBC that was previously reported.
The deal of the joint venture, first reported by CNBC, would give Comcast 51% of the new company, with General Electric retaining 49%.
Vivendi would sell off its 20% stake in NBC Universal as a part of the deal. The company has been strongly suggesting it wanted to part with NBC in recent weeks -- which helped spur all the restructuring talks about NBC Universal.
With NBC possibly valued at $35 billion, Comcast would need to shell out around $9 billion in the new company, according to the CNBC report. General Electric would contribute as much as $12 billion in debt to the new spun-off entity.
Comcast and NBC spokespersons had no comment.
Wednesday evening, Comcast denied a report that it had made a deal to buy NBC Universal for $35 billion. Comcast's stock sank some 7% in mid-day trading on Thursday on the news, signaling the speculation did not sit well with shareholders.
Analysts say a joint venture deal makes more sense financially for the company. But some are worried about the difficulty in making money for media companies when it comes to combining content and distribution.