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UPDATE 2-Comcast buys Microsoft stake in MSNBC.com
July 16, 2012 / 2:53 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Comcast buys Microsoft stake in MSNBC.com

* Comcast buys Microsoft's 50 pct in MSNBC.com
    * Price is said to be $300 million- report

    July 16 (Reuters) - Comcast Corp, the parent
company of NBC, has bought out Microsoft Corp's 50
percent stake in MSNBC.com for a reported $300 million to assume
full control of the news website.
    The deal ends 16 years of a 50-50 joint venture between
Microsoft and NBCUniversal, which is now majority-owned by
Comcast Corp, NBC said.
    "Today we're taking on a new name - NBCNews.com. While our
name is changing, our commitment is not," Jennifer Sizemore,
editor-in-chief of NBCNews.com, said in a letter posted on the
company's website.
    "The ties are deep, and untangling them will take at least
two years," the network said.
    The New York Times reported on Sunday the transaction was
valued at $300 million, a part of which comes from the joint
venture's past profits, citing people with knowledge of the
deal.
    NBC and Microsoft joined forces in 1996 to create a cable
news channel and online news operation that melded broadcasting
with then-emerging internet technology.
    At that time, Microsoft invested $220 million for its 50
percent stake in NBC. 
    In 2005, the companies terminated their partnership
operating the MSNBC cable channel and NBC was acquired by
Comcast four years later.
    MSN said in a blog it will be delivering a new news service
in the fall that will be focused on its online consumers
"harnessing real-time signals produced by social networks using
the power of search to deliver breaking updates".
    Analysts welcomed the move, saying it simplified Comcast's
structure. Earlier this month, Comcast said NBC Universal would
sell its 16 percent stake in History Channel owner A&E
Television Networks for $3 billion. Two months earlier Comcast
said it would exercise an option to sell a "substantial portion"
of its holding to its joint-venture partners Disney-ABC
Television Group and Hearst Corp.
    "NBC (51%-owned by CMCSA) already bought in MSFT's stake in
the cable channel MSNBC in 2005, and now NBC can more
effectively cross-sell advertising of the unified brand on TV
and online," said David Joyce, an analyst at Miller Tabak.
    The news of a possible website deal was first reported in
May.
    Microsoft stock was down 0.9 percent at $29.12 on the Nasdaq
in early Monday trading. Comcast shares lost 0.5 percent to
$31.72 on the Nasdaq.

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