Comcast is already the country’s largest cable television provider, but its entertainment ambitions don’t end there — the company has just announced that it will spend $16.7 billion to purchase General Electric’s stake in NBCUniversal. To top it off, Comcast will also shell out an additional $1.4 billion to purchase CNBC’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. and the NBCUniversal facilities at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York.
This whole process began in late 2009 when GE announced a deal in which Comcast would take over its holdings in NBCUniversal, and U.S. regulators eventually gave the transaction their blessing (with certain caveats in place) in early 2011.
The news comes right on the heels of Comcast’s fiscal Q4 2012 earnings release, in which the Philadelphia-based company announced earnings of $0.56 per share on $15.9 billion in revenue — Comcast easily beat the street’s consensus earnings estimates and just barely met analysts’ revenue targets. Operating income surged 12.9 percent year-over-year from $2.92 billion to nearly $3.3 billion. Comcast also announced that it planned to raise the dividends it pays out to shareholders by 20 percent, and would seek to repurchase some $2 billion worth of stock throughout the course of this year.
The company’s shareholders will likely take a shine to today’s announcements — at the time of this writing, Comcast’s stock is up nearly 8 percent in after-hours trading, and GE’s share price is currently up about 3.5 percent.