NBC plans to sell its nearly 20 percent stake in ShopNBC, which will change its name and rebrand by next February, officials from the home shopping network said Wednesday.
During a first-quarter earnings call, ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart said that NBC, which is being acquired by Comcast, no longer sees TV retailing as a strategic fit. Therefore, NBC plans to sell its 6.5 million shares, a 19.8 percent stake, in the home shopping network. NBC filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday to sell its shares.
ShopNBC has a 10-year licensing agreement with NBC that expires next May, and the home shopping network for the past eight months has “very methodically” been working with a consultant to develop a new brand name, according to Stewart.
“We have a short list of names,” he said.
The home shopping channel had been called ValueVision, and the company’s corporate name remains ValueVision Media, until NBC acquired a stake in it nearly a dozen years ago. With NBC in as an investor-partner, ValueVision changed its network’s name to ShopNBC.
ShopNBC will roll out that new name gradually this summer, starting out on the Web, and will listen to customer feedback and suggestions, he added.
“We will respond to customers,” Stewart said.
The final evolution will be using the new name for the TV network, with that transition to be completed by next February, before the licensing deal with NBC expires, according to Stewart.
“It’s important that we own the brand,” Stewart said.
For example, having control of the network’s name would permit ShopNBC to expand internationally, according to Stewart.
GE Capital still owns 6 million shares of ShopNBC, which is a 15.5 percent stake.