At least, that is my reading of a Bloomberg News report late Monday headlined: "GE Said To Lean Toward IPO of Vivendi's NBC Stake."
GE is close to a deal to sell 51% of NBCU to Comcast, with GE retaining the other 49%, according to news reports. First, though, Vivendi must sell its 20% stake to GE. Though Vivendi has reportedly given several indications it wants out of NBCU, the two sides are apparently quite far apart -- $1 billion -- according to a Financial Times report last week. Bloomberg puts the difference at $500 million.
Bloomberg's report looks to me like a rather obvious leak by GE or one of its bankers in an attempt to get Vivendi to back down on price. Realistically GE cannot risk an IPO of 20% of NBCU, as the move would force it to disclose far more details about how much the remaining 80% is worth than GE wants to provide. GE might get further putting pressure on Comcast to put in a little extra money as Comcast seems very eager to do a deal.General Electric shares were off 6 cents to $15.97 in late morning action, while Comcast's stock was down a penny to $15.08. For more on business trends affecting the future of television networks NBC, CBS Corp. (CBS - Get Report)'s CBS, News Corp. (NWS - Get Report) Fox and Walt Disney (DIS - Get Report)Co.'s. ABC network, click here . -- Written by Dan Freed in New York.