In one of the largest real estate deals in recent memory, Comcast will purchase from General Electric the properties used by NBCUniversal at iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza and CNBC Headquarters as part of its acquisition of GE’s remaining 49 percent equity stake in the media company, it was announced earlier this week.
Though the building is owned by Tishman Speyer, the office and studio space at 30 Rock involved in the deal is owned by GE and is considered a commercial condo. GE will keep space in the building on the 52nd and 53rd floors.
The real estate component of the deal accounts for approximately $1.4 billion of the $16.7 billion transaction and trumps the $1.1 billion sale of the Sony Building to the Chetrit Group last month.
Having a location such a 30 Rock is important for branding and has become part of many media companies’ business models, Todd Mitchell, director of research at Brean Capital LLC, who covers Comcast and other media companies, told The Commercial Observer.
“If you look at these guys, there is an element of having a physical manifestation of your business, whether it be 30 Rock or the Time Warner Center, all these places have studios down on the street level,” said Mr. Mitchell.
What makes NBC unique is the fact it has been able to maintain a physical presence in one of the most iconic and expensive pieces of real estate in Manhattan, Mr. Mitchell said.
The CNBC Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey provides real estate in a lower cost market, which is also more accessible for many employees, Mr. Mitchell said. “It’s very similar to Goldman [Sachs] having their headquarters in Battery Park and operations in Jersey City,” he noted
According to a statement, the transactions are being funded with $11.4 billion of cash on hand, $4.0 billion of subsidiary senior unsecured notes to be issued to GE, $2.0 billion of borrowing under Comcast and/or subsidiary bank credit facilities and $725 million of subsidiary preferred stock to be issued to GE.
Morgan Stanley and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, served as Comcast’s financial and legal advisors, respectively.
Calls to Comcast and Tishman Speyer were not returned by press time.