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General Electric gets out of the TV business

Updated at: 02/12/2013 6:08 PM
By SCOTT MAYEROWITZ

(AP) NEW YORK - General Electric is saying goodbye to 30 Rock _ the building and the TV business.

It’s another step in GE’s efforts to focus on less glamorous _ but theoretically more profitable _ ventures such as manufacturing medical imaging equipment, airplane engines and electrical generators.

The Fairfield, Conn. company announced Tuesday that it would sell its 49 percent stake in NBCUniversal to Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable TV operator for $16.7 billion. Comcast had bought a majority stake in the television and movie company in January 2011 and was expected to buy out GE’s remaining stake over the next several years.

General Electric will use the money to accelerate its share repurchase program to approximately $10 billion in 2013.

"This transaction allows us to significantly increase the cash we plan to return to shareholders in 2013, to approximately $18 billion, and to continue to invest in our industrial business," GE CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement.

GE is giving up its stake in one of America’s best-known brands.

The sale includes the NBC broadcast network, which airs everything from "Law & Order" to "The Office" and "The Biggest Loser." The company also owns cable networks Bravo, CNBC, Telemundo, USA and the Golf Channel. There’s also Universal Pictures, which over its 100 years has offered movies including "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Sting," "Jurassic Park" and "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial."

GE’s capital unit will also sell the floors NBCUniversal occupies in the iconic 30 Rockefeller Center building in New York as well as property in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. for $1.4 billion.

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Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)