General Electric’s problems – it warned yesterday that turmoil in the global credit markets could drive profit down as much as 12 percent — have once more put the spotlight on its media unit, NBC Universal.
Forever, it seems, media observers and Wall Street bankers have been talking about whether or not NBC should be sold by majority-owner GE. For its part, GE and its leadership — most notably CEO Jeff Immelt — repeatedly respond that NBC isn’t going anywhere.
As The Hollywood Reporter points out, GE’s latest troubles have nothing to do with NBC. The article reports that Immelt called NBC a “great media franchise” during his rounds yesterday.
During a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Immelt was asked three times if he would spin off GE Capital, prompting him to quip later on CNBC: “At least it took over from, ‘Are we going to spin out NBC?’ “
That’s not to say that NBC isn’t facing challenges of its own. NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker told a conference on Friday that local TV stations have been profoundly impacted by the economic downturn, according to Reuters.