NBC will pay $1.25 billion for Bravo. The deal will be completed through stock transactions with Cablevision, which houses the innovative film and arts network, and a payment of $250 million to Metro-Goldwin-Mayer
NBC-owned shares currently make up about 16% of Cablevision's outstanding stock. NBC will return its shares, along with around $400 million to $500 million of GE stock.
Cablevision will therefore get a desperately needed infusion of capital, and can limit its tax liabilities with the deal's stock transfer structure. The relationship between NBC and Cablevision has been turbulent at times, and following the deal's closure, NBC will no longer own shares of the media and telecom company or its subsidiaries. That's probably best for everyone involved.
Cablevision's massive debt of around $9 billion and lack of adequate cash flow for capital improvements in 2003 has led to speculation that it would have to sell some of its properties, Bravo being a prime target. This should help the company get the funding it needs, once it sells its GE shares.
NBC benefits from adding another cable channel to its news-only MSNBC and CNBC line-up. A nice addition to the Peacock's stable, Bravo beams into more than 68 million American households with acclaimed shows like Inside the Actor's Studio. While NBC has minority interests in A&E and the History Channel, it'll now have a cable entertainment channel all its own.
Cablevision will improve its financial position, and NBC gets another foothold in the cable TV empire. As the much-parodied James Lipton might ask in a low, meaningful voice, "What's your favorite word?" For both companies, the answer today is, "Bravo."