Updated from 8:06 a.m. EDT

Vivendi Universal

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has started exclusive talks about merging its U.S. film and television operations with TV network



NBC, a unit of

General Electric

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, would control the new company if a merger agreement is reached, while Vivendi would maintain a 20% interest. The assets include Universal Studios, the film production company.

Shares of Vivendi were gaining $1.35, or 8%, to $18.25, and GE was up 34 cents, or 1.2%, to $29.91.

A group led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. remained in the running for the Vivendi entertainment assets until Tuesday.

Cablevision Systems


was taking part in the Bronfman bid.

In a statement, Cablevision said the Vivendi entertainment assets "are extremely attractive and we expect that they will continue to thrive. Although we are disappointed that we were not selected, we believe that the process was fair and conducted in an honorable and professional manner. We wish GE, NBC and the management of Vivendi all the best as they proceed."