PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. cable television giant Comcast said Thursday that it agreed to buy control of NBC Universal from General Electric Co. for $30 billion.
The deal was set up by GE purchasing French conglomerate Vivendi's 20 percent of NBC earlier this week, which put it in position to sell controlling interest to Comcast.
If the acquisition survives regulatory scrutiny, it would put Comcast in control of production and distribution of NBC's television programing and film making, Tribune newspapers reported.
Comcast would be propelled into the forefront of the entertainment industry with control of more than a dozen cable channels, including nine regional sports channels, Universal Pictures and Universal Studios theme parks.
"It's the most important merger since Lucy met Desi," said Andrew Schwartzman, president of Media Access Project, an industry watchdog group.
He also said, "no entity should have control over such a large audience."
But Comcast Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts called the deal, "a perfect fit for Comcast and will allow us to become a leader in the development and distribution of multiplatform 'anytime, anywhere' media that American consumers are demanding."