Analysts believe General Electric Co. gave Comcast Corp. a great deal on the half of NBCUniversal that the cable company doesn’t already own.
Analyst Matthew Harrigan at Wunderlich Securities said GE “mispriced” the $16.7 billion deal announced late Tuesday.
Doug Mitchelson at Deutsche Bank said he had expected that GE would have held out for a better price. He asked Comcast executives on a conference call Wednesday morning if they sweetened the deal somehow.
Comcast’s chief financial officer, Michael Angelakis, responded that GE’s board simply liked that the company could sell its stake earlier than expected. Comcast was going to buy GE out gradually, finishing in 2018.
Comcast bought a controlling interest in NBCUniversal in 2011. Tuesday’s announcement came as a surprise. Comcast’s CEO said the company decided it made sense to work out a deal with GE now because the improved performance of the NBC broadcast network and cable-TV programming made it more likely the price would rise in the future.
Thomas Seitz, analyst at Jefferies & Co., said Comcast was getting an “attractive” value for NBCUniversal, saying the price was just a small premium to the valuation and earnings of other big media companies such as Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc.
Shares of Philadelphia-based Comcast rose $2.39, or 6.1 percent, to $41.38 in morning trading. In opening trading, it hit $42, matching an all-time high set in March 1999.
Shares of GE, which is based in Fairfield, Conn., rose 81 cents or 3.6 percent, to $23.39. That was the highest level for the stock since 2008.