I’ve learned that last week, during a visit to the West Coast, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker told both Universal and NBC, “We have to be ready in case Vivendi exits for an IPO of that 20% stake.” This is why, as I reported last week, the brass have been asking for more and deeper financial information than years past prior to the Vivendi put coming due.
Meanwhile, the rumors keep coming fast and furious. The latest (#3, if you’re keeping count) is also one of the most persistent despite denials on all sides: that some deal negotiation is underway between Time Warner and GE over all or part of NBCU. Yes, that rumor has been around a long time, and sources insist that Time Warner and GE were in talks before the economic crash. But it’s recently surfaced again, triggered by the Vivendi put, and it’s believed by some top people in Hollywood. Time Warner folks say it’s just not true, especially since Jeff Bewkes maintains a very disciplined approach to acquisitions because of the goodwill writedowns that haunted Time Warner in the past. On the other hand, a good case could me made for a very synergistic combination of assets. -test