NBC completed its acquisition of Vivendi Universal's entertainment assets earlier today (12) in NewYork as the companies merged to create NBC Universal, the latest mediaconglomerate with expected 2005 revenues of $15bn.
The new companyhas a mind-boggling range of cross-promotional opportunities with assetsincluding Universal Pictures, NBC Network, seven cable channels including USAand Bravo, 29 television stations and interests in five theme parks.
General Electricvice chairman Bob Wright will head up NBC Universal and becomes chairman andchief executive officer.
Ron Meyer, theformer president and chief operating officer of Vivendi UniversalEntertainment, becomes president and chief operating officer of UniversalStudios and will be responsible for Universal Pictures, the Hollywood studiooperations and the company's Parks & Resorts division.
UniversalPictures and Parks & Resorts will continue to be led by Stacey Snider andTom Williams respectively.
Speaking at apress conference at the Rockefeller Centre, Wright stressed the confluencebetween the two companies and said the merger represented 'a tremendousgrowth opportunity for our viewers, advertisers, employees, and GEshareowners.'
Meyer said the merger was the best thing that had happenedto Universal in a decade, adding: 'We've been rescued.' Underformer Vivendi chief executive Jean-Marie Messier's ill-conceived andunfocused reign the company nearly went bankrupt.
Vivendi Universal Entertainment shareholders received$3.65bn of cash consideration, of which Vivendi Universal received $3.4bn.
NBC Universalassumed $1.7bn of debt, previously included in Vivendi Universal's financialstatements and the result is that General Electric owns 80% of the new companywhile Vivendi Universal controls the remaining 20%.
Randy Falco,president of the NBC Universal Television Networks Group, will lead thecompany's commercial and operational organisations, while Jeff Zucker,president of the NBC Universal Television Group, will oversee all televisionprogramming for the new company except sports and Olympics.
Dick Ebersol,chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, will assume responsibility forUSA Network's sports programming and Jay Ireland, president of NBC UniversalTelevision Stations, will continue to lead the operations of the company'sowned-and-operated stations group.
It is thought that approximately 500 employees from the combined 15,000 workforce will be made redundant in the coming years, however details were unforthcoming.