GE bows out of show biz
General Electric’s desire to get out of show business will leave CEO Jeffrey Immelt with $8 billion in net cash and an obligation to explain to shareholders where he plans to steer the company to next. GE is selling its 51% stake in NBC Universal (a TV, cable, film and theme-park operator) to Comcast Corp., enabling Comcast to create a global media powerhouse. There’s some way to go yet before the final curtain, but the deal will allow again Immelt to focus on the company's main businesses: power generation, aviation, rail and medical-imaging equipment, plus its finance arm, GE Capital, which was badly hit by the global downturn. It’s amazing how some corporations think they can run any business in a generic way – sort of like a proctologist switching to heart surgery overnight. And the ironies abound. By dumping NBC Universal, GE is getting rid of one of its highest-margin businesses at a time when advertising revenue and profit from traditional media are under threat from the Internet. Read more: Business Week, The Times
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