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Comcast's NBCUniversal Deal Proves Merger Boom

For Comcast, taking control of NBCUniversal will complete its transformation from a content distributor by way of cable and broadband networks to a fully-integated media behemoth that also owns top broadcast, cable TV, film studio and theme park assets.

Such a move continues to differentiate Comcast from cable peers, while putting it into closer running with content creators like Disney (DIS), CBS (CBS) and Time Warner (TWX).

The deal may also reflect improving operating results that make a large stake acquisition opportunistic given expectations of continued growth.

In 2012, NBCUniversal revenue rose nearly 13% to over $23 billion in annual sales, while operating cash flow grew over 9% to $4.1 billion.

"We are excited about the future prospects of NBCUniversal," Roberts said on CNBC. "Our shareholders have 100% of the upside here," he added.

Such sentiment mirrors similar commentary from Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman in explaining a far faster-than-expected planned acquisition of the bank's brokerage joint venture with Citigroup.

"After a year of significant challenges, Morgan Stanley has reached a pivot point. We demonstrated meaningful progress in our Wealth Management Joint Venture, reaching the highest pre-tax margin since the inception of the JV," Gorman said, in January.

In fourth-quarter earnings, Morgan Stanley also showed long overdue progress on the brokerage unit's profitability. Net revenues were $3.5 billion and pre-tax margin rose to 17%, far above the 10% that had raised some investor and analyst alarm in past quarters. When the brokerage JV was cut, Morgan Stanley forecast 20% margins.

On news of the deal, Comcast shares rose over 7% to $41.71 in after-hours trading, a new record high for the company. General Electric shares gained nearly 3% to $23.21, reaching a five-year high in after-hours trading.

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