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Rating Action:

Moody's Assigns Baa2 Senior Unsecured Rating to NBC Universal's Proposed Note Issuance

26 Apr 2010

New York, April 26, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service assigned a Baa2 senior unsecured rating to NBC Universal, Inc.'s ("NBCU") (Baa2 senior unsecured rating) proposed Senior Notes offering. Net proceeds from the note issuance will be used to repay all amounts outstanding under NBCU's existing two-year term loan agreement ($1.671 billion outstanding as of December 31, 2009) with the remaining portion to be applied toward a cash distribution to General Electric Company ("GE") (Aa2 senior unsecured rating) upon close of the pending joint venture transaction with Comcast Corporation (Baa1 senior unsecured rating). The outlook remains stable.

In connection with the proposed issuance, NBCU's $6.1 billion 364-day term loan / capital markets bridge facility will be permanently reduced dollar for dollar by the size of the note issuance and the repayment of the two-year term loan will offset a portion of the amount agreed upon that will be paid to GE at the close of the joint venture. The new notes will be unsecured obligations of NBCU and rank pari passu with the company's $750 million 3-year revolving credit facility, the $3.0 billion 3-year amortizing term loan facility and the residual capital markets bridge facility. Additionally, the notes will not be guaranteed by any of NBCU's subsidiaries, nor by GE or Comcast.

NBCU's ratings are based on the combined entity's (the cable networks of NBCU and Comcast) iconic brands (USA, NBC, Universal, and many others), large portfolio of cable networks, significant scale (2009 pro forma revenues of $17.5 billion) and broad geographic reach of the NBC network. The rating is supported by strong and consistent cash flow generation, and a governance-based limitation on the amount of incremental debt the company can incur (2.75x based on management's calculation of debt-to-EBITDA leverage) which we believe is prudently moderate. Moody's expects that leverage will dip to as low as around 1.5x leading up to the GE buyout windows, at which time debt will be reloaded to the 2.75x (reported leverage) ceiling. "We believe that average leverage will remain at about 3x when we include Moody's standard adjustments and guarantees over the intermediate term," stated Neil Begley, a Senior Vice President at Moody's Investors Service.

In Moody's view the primary risk to debt investors would be a material drop in EBITDA occurring (as a result of a significant pull-back in advertising spending or a reduction in carriage fees associated with contract renewals) just following a debt recapitalization in 2014 for a partial GE buyout. "However, we believe that the probability of a repeat of the 2009 advertising climate or something worse for NBCU right at that point in time is low, and the company would still likely generate healthy free cash flow," stated Begley.

Moody's most recent rating action for NBCU was the assignment of a Baa2 senior unsecured rating to the new bank facilities of NBCU (NewCo) on December 3, 2009.

For the assignment of NBCU's Baa2 senior unsecured long term debt ratings, Moody's has used its methodology for the Large Global Diversified Media Industry, which can be found at www.moodys.com in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found in the Rating Methodologies sub-directory on Moody's website.

NBCU, with its headquarters in New York, New York, at closing will be a jointly owned company by Comcast and GE that is a diversified media content company comprised of cable and broadcast networks, broadcast television stations, a film studio and theme parks. Pro forma revenues were $17.5 billion in fiscal 2009.

New York
Neil Begley
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Alexandra S. Parker
Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's Assigns Baa2 Senior Unsecured Rating to NBC Universal's Proposed Note Issuance
No Related Data.
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