NBC’s Zucker on CNBC: not scared of FOX

October 3, 2007

NBC Universal CEO Jeff ZuckerMost journalists never get to meet the top dog at their outfit. Not so for the the lucky folks at CNBC, who sometimes must interview their boss’s boss’s boss.

Today it was Jeff Zucker, President & CEO of NBC Universal, who chatted on air with the crew of “Squawk Box” about their new competition (i.e. their jobs) among other things.

CNBC: As a CEO…do you feel that your hands are tied to make deals? Would it not be easier if you had stock to do this?
ZUCKER: We have the great power of (General Electric) behind us. We’re able to do the acquisitions we want to do, that we think are smart. I feel incredibly comfortable about the ability to do so within GE’s Guide.

CNBC: Is Facebook really worth $10 billion ?
ZUCKER: It’s hard to see how those numbers add up when you look at the revenues. On the other hand, the multiples that are being paid for many of these companies right now are just in the stratosphere and I think that those are numbers that really don’t make much economic reality or much economic sense, but there’s always somebody out there who’s willing to take the bet. We’re comfortable actually growing much of our digital properties organically.

CNBC: Regarding the launch of Fox Business, how is this battle different?
ZUCKER:
News Corp is an intense competitor. But I could not feel more confident about CNBC. I don’t think in the 20 years that CNBC has been around that we’ve ever been in a stronger position. We made a ton of changes in the last two years. Some of them have been on this program and I don’t think this program has ever been in better shape. We welcome competition, we are not scared by it.

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