NBC Universal is a done deal.
The new company was formed Wednesday with the completion of the $14 billion NBC-Vivendi Universal merger.
NBC expects the combination to generate $500 million in annual efficiencies, some by cutting 500 employees, some by increasing ad sales at NBC’s new cable units.
The company now comprises the NBC TV Network, the Universal Film Studio, an array of news and entertainment networks, including MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Sci-Fi, Bravo and Telemundo, as well as 29 owned and operated local TV stations and a theme parks division.
NBC Chairman Bob Wright outlined the structure of the new company while standing in a studio at 30 Rock that has been the set of everything from Toscaninni concerts to Saturday Night Live. “Today we are also making history that I believe will be as significant,” Wright said. The combined entity will have an estimated $15 billion in revenues in 2005. NBC Universal is a global media and entertainment enterprise with expected 2005 revenues of $15 billion.
The new executive lineup:
Ron Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios, will be responsible for Universal Pictures, the Hollywood studio, and the company's theme parks.
Randy Falco, president of the NBC Universal Television Networks Group, will lead "the company's commercial and operational organizations," which includes sales and network operations.
Jeff Zucker, president of the NBC Universal Television Group, will now oversee TV programming for the new company, except sports and Olympics, which remain under Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. Ebersol will also add responsibility for USA Network's sports programming.
Jeff Gaspin will oversee combined cable operations as president, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and cross-platform strategy. His reports will include Bonnie Hammer, president of USA & Sci Fi Networks, and Lauren Zalaznick, president, Bravo & Trio.
Kevin Reilly is president, NBC Entertainment, and David Kissinger and Angela Bromstad Will be co-presidents, NBC Universal Television Studio.
Jay Ireland, president of NBC Universal Television Stations, heads operations of the company's owned-and-operated stations.
From the Vivendi side, CFO Frederick Huntsberry becomes CFO and EVP of the new company.
As expected, Barry Wallach will head up syndication as president, NBC Universal Domestic Sales & Distribution, with Belinda Menendez heading international distribution as President.
Cable sales will be headed by Universal's Jeff Lucas, reporting to Keith Turner, president, NBC Universal Sales and Marketing.
Brandon Burgess will be named to a new position of EVP, digital media, international channels and business development.
In completing the transaction, shareholders of Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE) received $3.65 billion of cash consideration, of which Paris-based Vivendi Universal received $3.4 billion.
NBC Universal assumed $1.7 billion of debt. As a result, GE owns 80% of NBC Universal and Vivendi Universal the remaining 20%.
Beginning in 2006, Vivendi Universal will have the right to monetize its ownership interest over time at fair market value.--John Higgins contributed to this report.
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