AGREEMENT

GE, Vivendi Reach NBC Deal

General Electric's planned sale of 51 percent of NBC Universal to Comcast came closer to fruition as the industrial giant agreed to pay French conglomerate Vivendi $5.8 billion for its 20 percent stake in the media company. Though the price is below Vivendi's valuation, it's still at the upper reaches of expectations at about one-fifth of the Comcast deal's valuation of NBCU, and paves the way for Comcast to purchase the struggling media company. The two companies had been negotiating the deal since Nov. 15, the annual window for Vivendi to exercise a put option on its stake, reportedly attempting to overcome a difference in valuation of around $1 billion. Details of payment were not made immediately clear. Comcast, which had hoped to announce its purchase of NBCU last week, has long been attempting to purchase content companies—at least since its failed hostile bid for Disney in 2004—despite the prevailing wisdom that owning both production and distribution isn't generally profitable.