GE Sells $4 Billion of NBCUniversal Debt Issued in Comcast Deal

General Electric Co. sold $4 billion of bonds issued by Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal unit after receiving the debt as a part of a $16.7 billion payment for its remaining stake in the broadcaster.

NBC’s $700 million of three-year notes pay 50 basis points more than the three-month London interbank offered rate, while an equal amount of five-year notes pay 68.5 basis points more than the floating benchmark, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The broadcaster’s $1.1 billion of 1.662 percent, five-year debt yields 85 basis points more than similar-maturity Treasuries and a $1.5 billion portion of 1.974 percent bonds due 2019 pay a spread of 120 basis points.

A combination of senior unsecured debt with a weighted average interest rate of 1.51 percent, along with cash and preferred shares, was used to pay GE for selling its 49 percent equity stake in NBC, Comcast said yesterday in a regulatory filing announcing the deal’s completion. Comcast will back that debt, with NBC paying the parent an annual guarantee fee. Comcast had owned 51 percent of the business before agreeing in February to buy GE’s stake.

The bonds were graded A3 by Moody’s Investors Service, the ratings company said in a March 1 statement.

Libor, the rate at which banks say they can borrow from one another, is the standard for about $360 trillion of financial products.

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