This has been in the works for a bit and is a natural fit … NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) is acquiring women’s cable net Oxygen Media for $925 million, $875 million net of financial assets. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Release.
At its much-hyped 2000 launch, Oxygen had ambitious multi-platform cable and internet plans — and the backing of a high-profile crowd. Co-founders were cable vet Geraldine Laybourne, chairman and CEO: Oprah Winfrey and TV producers Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and Caryn Mandabach; Paul Allen was among the backers. While Oxygen succeeded at full distribution as a cable net — especially tough for an independent — the internet aspirations turned out to be much too ambitious, particularly after the bubble burst. Oxygen had a lot of the right online ideas but was far ahead of its time.
At NBCU, Oxygen will fit into the growing cable operations as part of NBCU’s Entertainment Cable division. In cable terms, the price works out to less than $12 a subscriber. NBCU expects “revenue and cost synergies” of about $35 million in 2008. On the internet side, it should fit with iVillage.
The acquisition will be self-funded through the sale of NBCU’s two independent Telemundo TV stations.