Post Comcast-NBCU Deal, ShopNBC Says To Ask General Electric What It Plans To Do With Its Stake In The Network

Keith Stewart

ShopNBC officials don’t know how Comcast’s expected purchase of NBC Universal will affect the network, where NBCU and its parent General Electric hold a 32.5 percent stake.

“You have to call GE and ask them,” ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart said Wednesday. “It’s difficult to speculate what GE is going to do.”

During a third-quarter conference call, ShopNBC was asked twice about the expected Comcast-NBCU deal and its potential impact on the network, and Stewart danced around it.

GE/NBC currently owns about 32.5 percent of ShopNBC on a fully diluted basis of 37.6 million shares. NBC’s 6.4 million shares represent 16.8 percent ownership and GE’s 6 million common stock purchase warrants represent 15.7 percent.

First, one investor said he was concerned that if GE was looking to get out of the media business, why would it keep its stake in ShopNBC.

“As for changing the landscape, I really don’t see much of a change in the landscape,” Stewart said. “They are a minority holder, albeit around 30 percent.”

That same caller expressed concern that ShopNBC would lose leverage in negotiating carriage deals if it no longer had NBCU
as a shareholder.

“I really couldn’t possibly say that impacts us negatively or positively,” Stewart said. “We have a very good relationship with Comcast as it is, and what we pay them for distribution, last time I checked they still need a revenue stream.”

A second investor later noted that GE and NBCU have three seats on ShopNBC’s board, and what would be GE’s incentive to keep its stock.

“I don’t know really how to answer that question,” Stewart said, adding that he looks at GE and NBCU as passive investors.

Chief financial officer Frank Elsenbast chimed in, “In the event there was an NBC transaction with Comcast, we still would have a very significant investor in GE owning 13 percent of the company.”

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One Response to “Post Comcast-NBCU Deal, ShopNBC Says To Ask General Electric What It Plans To Do With Its Stake In The Network”

  1. Comcast Says:

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    […]Post Comcast-NBCU Deal, ShopNBC Says To Ask General Electric What It Plans To Do With Its Stake In The Network « Homeshoppingista's Blog By Linda Moss[…]…

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