NBC pays $2.7bn for Telemundo

NEW YORK - NBC, the US television network, has bought Spanish broadcaster Telemundo Communications Group, owned by Sony and Liberty Media, for $2.7bn (£1.8bn) in cash and stock.

The General Electric-owned NBC's bid, which includes assuming $700m (£475m) in debt, trumped an earlier offer from Viacom.

The price NBC has paid falls short of the $3bn (£2bn) Sony and Liberty wanted for the company, but it is widely believed that the NBC offer is a good one, considering current market conditions.

The deal will make NBC the only major broadcast network with a business fully devoted to the Spanish-speaking market. Hispanics are the US's fastest-growing segment of the population and are expected soon to be the largest minority group. The Telemundo network currently reaches 88% of Hispanic TV households in the US.

Bob Wright, vice-chairman of General Electric and chairman and CEO of NBC, said, "The vibrant Hispanic market accounts for a significant and growing share of the nation's economy and we are eager to draw on Telemundo's expertise to better serve this important audience. This transaction positions NBC for continued industry leadership, and is a clear sign of our commitment to both over-the-air broadcasting and cable programming networks."

Telemundo president and CEO Jim McNamara and COO Alan Sokol will continue to lead Telemundo following the completion of the transaction. McNamara, a leading television executive with international expertise, has been CEO of the network since July 1999. Fully bilingual, he served as CEO of New World Entertainment and was president of Universal TV Syndication and International Sales.

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