Media reports: Comcast in talks to buy NBC Universal

Philadelphia-based Comcast is Atlanta's primary cable provider. NBC Universal and a host of investors bought Atlanta-based Weather Channel last year, adding it to its list of cable and broadcast networks.

NBC Universal Executive Vice President Allison Gollust told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Thursday morning that the company had no comment. The reports of Comcast's interest in NBC appeared in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Comcast took the unusual step of issuing a formal statement to say the reports were untrue. "While we do not normally comment on M&A rumors, the report that Comcast has a deal to purchase NBC Universal is inaccurate."

NBC is 80 percent owned by General Electric. Its cable networks include A&E, the History Channel and cable news operations MSNBC and CNBC.

The media company, along with a pair of private equity firms, bought the Weather Channel from Norfolk, Va.-based Landmark Communications. The changes have included giving longtime "Today" weatherman Al Roker his own daily show at 6 a.m. and bringing in a new president and CEO, former America Online executive Michael Kelly.

Analyst Nicholas Heymann said at the time of the sale that owning the Weather Channel would make NBC more attractive to buyers. Besides owning the all-weather network, NBC got a key asset in weather.com.

The Weather Channel also invested $60 million in a flashy 5,000-square-foot studio, complete with a $400,000 high-definition screen.

That being said, talk of owner GE selling NBC Universal has been just that. Media reports began surfacing as early as Wednesday, however, that bankers representing both sides had met in New York to discuss a possible deal.

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