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Vivendi, GE sign to create NBC Universal

Paris, Oct. 8 (Reuters): French media firm Vivendi Universal and US conglomerate General Electric said on Wednesday they had signed a final deal to combine GEís NBC television unit with Vivendiís Universal Studios and cable channels, creating a $43 billion entertainment powerhouse.

Under a deal whose broad outlines were unveiled last month, shareholders in Vivendi Universal Entertainment will receive $3.8 billion in cash, with $3.3 billion of that going directly to Vivendi Universal.

As part of the agreement, General Electric intends to issue common stock at or before the closing to fund the cash portion of the deal.

The new company, to be called NBC Universal, will compete with entertainment giants such as Walt Disney Co. and Viacom Inc.

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