Comcast Corp. announced this morning that it will acquire a controlling interest (51 percent ownership) in cable giant NBC Universal Inc. with General Electric owning the remaining 49 percent. The new joint venture will combine NBCU’s successful cable networks with Comcast’s leading delivery business and will be well positioned to compete in the distribution of multiplatform media that American consumers are now demanding. It will also improve consumer choice and spur the development of new digital products and services.
Rob Wonderling, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, describes what the acquisition will mean to the city and region:
“There is an immediate jolt to the reputation of the city and region. This raises our visibility nationally and globally as the headquarters of Comcast. It makes Ralph and Brian Roberts’ decision to stay in Philadelphia and build the HQ here even more significant and admirable.
“Brian Roberts will play an even greater role in the delivery of news and entertainment. As video, audio and text all come together on TVs, computers, and smartphones, he will be a major player – if not the major player – in deciding how it all affects consumers.
“This gives Select Greater Philadelphia a big advantage in our economic development marketing efforts. While we have been a Fortune 500 Headquarters – now we are HQ of NBC, a name everyone in the world recognizes. Even before merger takes place, the business would know NBC’s owners are in Philadelphia. Other companies will be more inclined to come here. They may see an opportunity for greater visibility for themselves, a spillover benefit, simply through the interaction that takes place within a metro area.
“The economic impact will come gradually. Because Comcast sees advantages in having its suppliers nearby, companies may move here to set up operations in anticipation of regulatory approval. As this acquisition takes roots, more opportunities will flourish.