General Electric Co. plans to buy back about $10 billion of stock this year as it reaps cash from selling a 49 percent stake in NBC Universal to Comcast Corp.
The repurchase program accelerates GE’s effort to return cash to investors, the company said today in a statement. Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE didn’t specify how much it had previously planned on repurchasing.
Comcast agreed to buy the 49 percent of NBC Universal that it didn’t already own for $16.7 billion and to pay GE $1.4 billion for floors at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York as well as property in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. GE said it will see a $1 billion pre-tax gain from the deal, and its finance unit will get $900 million.
“This transaction allows us to significantly increase the cash we plan to return to shareholders in 2013,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said in the statement. The sale will let GE “accelerate our share buyback plans while investing in growth in our core businesses.”
GE will receive $12 billion in cash, $4 billion in Comcast guaranteed debt and $700 million of preferred stock, according to the statement. GE’s shares jumped 3.4 percent to $23.34 at 6:07 p.m., after the close of regular trading in New York. The shares previously gained 7.6 percent this year.
Comcast acquired its original 51 percent stake in NBC Universal for $13.8 billion in 2011.