GE, Vivendi Forge Tentative Deal on NBC Stake

General Electric Co. has hammered out a tentative agreement to buy partner Vivendi SA’s minority stake in NBC Universal for $5.8 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, setting up a deal that would give control of NBC Universal to Comcast Corp.

GE, which owns 80 percent of NBC Universal, reached an agreement after its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, held face-to-face negotiations in Paris with Vivendi Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Lévy last week, the people said.

Spokeswomen from GE (GE) and Vivendi declined to comment.

If finalized, the Vivendi-GE agreement will clear the final major obstacle to a deal GE worked out weeks ago to give U.S. cable company Comcast (CMCSA) control over NBC Universal. The Comcast transaction would create one of the world’s largest media companies, but it always hinged on Vivendi selling its 20 percent stake to GE.

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