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NBC Second-Quarter Profit Gains 13% on TV Ad Rebound

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- NBC Universal, the General Electric Co. media unit, reported a 13 percent gain in second-quarter profit as television advertising rebounded.

Profit climbed to $607 million, from $539 million a year ago, GE said today in a statement. Revenue at the New York-based unit, run by Jeffrey Zucker, rose 5.2 percent to $3.75 billion.

NBC Universal’s results were led by a 7 percent revenue gain and 10 percent profit increase at its cable channels, including USA, Bravo, Oxygen and CNBC, GE Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin said today on a conference call.

GE is selling a majority stake in the business to Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable operator. The deal, agreed to in December, is awaiting U.S. antitrust approval. European Union regulators signed off on the takeover this week. Sherin said the regulatory review is “progressing as expected.”

NBC, the broadcast network that finished in last place in audience ratings among the top four networks this season, made 18 percent more this year in advertising sales ahead of the TV season that starts in September, Sherin said. The network’s revenue rose 1 percent to $1.4 billion in the second quarter, and profit rose 6 percent. Local station sales climbed 25 percent.

Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE, which reported an overall revenue decline, fell 70 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $14.55 at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Rabil in New York at srabil@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net.

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