NEW YORK CITY-In conjunction with Comcast‘s $16.7-billion buyout of GE in the joint venture that owns NBCUniversal, announced late Tuesday afternoon, NBCU is acquiring the 40 floors it occupies at 30 Rockefeller Plaza from GE Capital. The $1.4-billion deal also includes CNBC‘s headquarters at 900 Sylvan Ave. in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
GE CFO Keith Sherin said in a webcast Wednesday morning that the real estate deal, which encompasses about 2.3 million square feet between the two properties, is expected to close by the end of March. However, Sherin said, it could go into the second quarter.
GE Capital expects to realize a pre-tax gain of $900 million on the sale of the 30 Rock floors and the CNBC building. The company had owned the 1.6-million-square-foot 30 Rock space since 1996, acquiring it for $440 million from Tishman Speyer Properties, and paid $8.6 million for 900 Sylvan in 2002.
The real estate and media deals accelerate GE’s exit from the JV, which was to have occurred during a redemption period that would begin in July 2014. In a release, Comcast says the two acquisitions will be funded with $11.4 billion of cash on hand; $4 billion of subsidiary senior unsecured notes to be issued to GE; $2 billion of borrowings under Comcast and/or subsidiary bank credit facilities; and $725 million of subsidiary preferred stock to be issued to GE.
The New York Post reported Wednesday that with the sale of the 30 Rock space come naming rights for the 70-story office tower, built in 1933 as part of the original Rockefeller Center complex. It’s currently known as the GE Building; GE will continue to occupy about 70,000 square feet on two floors at 30 Rock.
Morgan Stanley was financial advisor to Comcast and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP was legal advisor. For GE, JP Morgan provided financial advice, and legal counsel came from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. In addition, Goldman Sachs, Centerview Partners and CBRE provided strategic advice related to the transaction.