Comcast (Nasdaq:CMCSA) decided to buy out GE’s (NYSE:GE) 49% and make it final. NBC and associated parts including CNBC are going to Comcast for $16.7 Billion. Everyone thought it would eventually break this way but Comcast put the hurry up on. Clearly it was a chess game and lets look at some of the strategists who influenced the outcome.
Comcast of course is off the opinion that owning content and delivery is the right way to go. GE is of the opinion that $16.7 Billion takes it all away.
On the Comcast side you have
Brian Roberts 52 who controls some 33% of voting control and has his fingerprints and family jewels on the deal. Wonder who got impatient with the corporate culture clash?
Drilling down to independent directors you have
Kenneth J Bacon 57 retired from Fannie Mae. Not exactly a case history of financial success.
Joseph J Collins 67 who was Chair and CEO of Time Warner followed by a short stint as Chair and CEO of AOL Time Warner Interactive Video. This basically is the worst merger of all times. He cannot be screaming in board meetings “don’t do it”
Jonathan Rodgers 66 President and CEO of TV One, former president for six years of Discovery Network. Prior to that a career CBS man who became president of CBS television stations division. This man’s DNA screams network and control.
So you can see why Comcast wants it. These guys are network oriented.
On the GE side
I’m sure it’s unanimous that selling something for a cash amount equal to about 7% of market cap sounds pretty good. Here are a few personality issues for GE independent directors.
W Geoffrey Beattie 51 President of Woodbridge. He is a quiet Canadian power player for a quiet Canadian billionaire who controls Thomson Reuters (NYSE:TRI). So he signed off and waved good-bye to CNBC and other media assets. He would have some uniquely accurate perspective on valuations in this business.
Andrea Jung 53 Chair and CEO of Avon is also co-lead independent director for Apple. She must have a few insights into the future of media and technology (like maybe Apple TV and other stuff). The Apple DNA with smart phones, tablets and iTunes is to disrupt existing networks not acquire them.
The GE board is very heavy with high-powered Chairman and CEO’s who look closely at the numbers. NBC Universal was a discard from way back when. No one was trying to reverse the process.
George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. Follow him on twitter@financialskepti or follow his evil twin brother who is writing a Wall Street Murder thriller at twitter@georgegutowski