From: Jeff Zucker (NBC Universal)
Sent: Thursday, December 03, 2009 6:26 AM
To: NBC Universal Employee Communications (NBC Universal)
Subject: A New NBC Universal
NBC Universal has been built on the foundations of two American institutions whose legacies have spanned nearly a century. Today marks the beginning of the next extraordinary chapter of our history.
General Electric and Comcast have signed an agreement to create a new company that will merge Comcast’s programming assets into NBC Universal. This new company will be created once regulatory approvals have been received. It will be 51 percent owned by Comcast, with GE retaining the remaining 49 percent. I am excited to have been asked to lead the new company.
From an operational standpoint, we are joining a team of people who are visionaries in the media landscape. Founded in 1963 by Ralph Roberts, and now led by his son, Brian Roberts, Comcast is the nation’s leading provider of cable, entertainment, broadband and communications products and services. In this joint venture we will have a new parent that is a pure media company with an unsurpassed distribution business. And they are committed to growing and investing in NBCU.
From a business perspective, we’ll be adding some fantastic new cable brands to our portfolio, including E! Entertainment, Style Network, VERSUS, G4, PBS Kids Sprout and the Golf Channel, as well as 10 regional sports networks and several digital assets, including the websites Fandango and Daily Candy. You have heard me say many times that we are, at our core, primarily a cable networks company. In fact, upon completion of this deal, 80 percent of NBCU’s profits will come from cable. This deal increases our exposure to the fastest-growing segment of the entertainment industry.
As exciting as this may sound in a press release, I know it creates countless questions about what this really means for each of your futures. While I don’t have all the answers right now, here are some important things to keep in mind:
We expect regulatory approvals to take 9 to 12 months. So, for now, it remains business as usual. And in fact, I expect this will be the case for the vast majority of you even after the deal closes. NBC Universal will continue to be, first and foremost, a world-class content company.
I could not be more impressed with the team at Comcast and look forward to working with them. As you will hear for yourselves later today, they are equally impressed with the talented people we have in place here and are energized by the possibilities of what we will create together.
It is natural for change to create uncertainty. Again, I expect very little to change with regard to our day-to-day operations, but we will communicate with you on a regular basis in the months ahead and make sure you are aware of any new information about the deal and its progress.
To that end, we have created a place on insideNBCU for all information regarding the deal. If you click on the homepage icon, “A New NBC Universal<http://nbcu.ge.com/portal/site/nbcu/menuitem.28fa0520da4873db27231d1006a21330>,” you can access any news and information related to this announcement. There is also a place for you to submit your questions, which we will answer as fully and promptly as possible.
Until the deal closes, all of your payroll and benefits remain in place under GE. In that regard, please remember that you still need to choose a GE Medical Benefits plan during the annual enrollment period that ends tomorrow. We will keep you fully informed about any upcoming changes to our benefits package as we learn more in the coming months.
As you can imagine, there are many people across every division of this company who have played important roles in getting us to today. I would like to thank each and every one of them for their efforts. While there are far too many to list by name, I do want to single out Lynn Calpeter, Salil Mehta and Rick Cotton, and their dedicated teams in finance, business strategy and development, and legal. What they have done to see this deal through to its completion has been remarkable, and they deserve special recognition, and my own personal thanks.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say a word about GE. Jeff Immelt and the entire team at GE have been wonderful stewards of NBC, and later NBC Universal, over the past 23 years. It’s been a long road and we have enjoyed much success together, and look forward to having them in this joint venture.
Finally, I would like you to join me, along with Jeff Immelt and Comcast’s Ralph and Brian Roberts and Steve Burke, today at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT for an all-employee Town Hall. We will all be there to speak with you about the announcement and answer your questions.
Please see below for Town Hall tune-in info.
Today marks a significant milestone in our company’s history. There are so many possibilities to imagine. Rest assured that, having spent my entire career here, this morning I am feeling many of the same emotions as each of you. As we head into the next phase of this, all I ask is that each and every one of you continues to focus on what you always have – making us the leading provider of world-class news and information and entertainment content on the planet. I will be there for you every step of the way as we face this transition together. It will be an exciting journey – and I look forward to seeing and hearing from all of you along the way.