GE, Comcast agree on NBC Universal JV board

DFN: Deals NOT doen; I’ve been following this transaction. Just not sure why GE is selling NBC?

GE, Comcast agree on NBC Universal JV board: source
Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:52pm EST Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page[-] Text [+]

NEW YORK (Reuters) – General Electric Co and Comcast Corp have agreed on the structure of the board for the proposed joint venture with NBC Universal, a person familiar with the matter said.

Comcast will have the majority of seats on the board, the source said, but could not give other details.

GE and Comcast are unlikely to reach a deal on the venture this weekend, two people familiar with the matter said, as GE is still in talks with Vivendi SA to buy the French company’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal.

Vivendi is still negotiating to get the best value for its investment, the person said.

GE, which currently owns 80 percent of NBC Universal, has been in talks with Comcast to sell it a 51 percent stake in a proposed joint venture that would also house the cable networks now belonging to Comcast.

They recently agreed to value NBC Universal at about $30 billion, sources previously told Reuters.

Comcast declined to comment. NBC Universal was not immediately available for comment.

GE and Comcast have ironed out several of the issues in the past few days, agreeing on valuation, top management and exit provisions for GE, sources have told Reuters.

NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker has been picked to head the proposed joint venture. Peter Chernin, the former president of News Corp who has been advising Comcast and was expected by some to lead the new entity, will not be on the board, the source said.


GE’s talks with Vivendi, which has to agree to a GE-Comcast deal, have been progressing, but "going slow," many sources said this week.

Every year between mid-November and mid-December, Vivendi has to decide whether to exercise its "put" option to sell its NBC Universal stake.

This year, Vivendi is eager to dispose of its stake, which it acquired as part of a 2004 deal to create NBC Universal, and is negotiating the valuation with GE, sources have said.

As part of the proposal, NBC Universal would become a joint venture, 51 percent owned by Comcast and 49 percent by GE. Comcast would contribute around $4 billion to $6 billion in cash, as well as its collection of cable networks.

The new company is expected to be able generate cash to pay down $9 billion in debt that would be added to its books as part of the deal. It would use that debt to buy the rest of the company from GE.

GE has negotiated a redemption option that would give it the right to redeem all or part of its stake in the new company in exchange for cash at the three-and-a-half year mark and at a seven-year mark, sources have said.

The terms of the deal allow Comcast’s cash payment to be determined partly by NBC Universal’s financial performance. If the unit’s performance worsens between the signing of the deal and the closing, Comcast could end up paying less, sources previously told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Michael Erman and Yinka Degoke; editing by Tiffany Wu, Andre Grenon and Leslie Gevirtz)


Six Ways to Protect Yourself Against Identify Theft

DFN: Said commentary on the ‘human condition’, but, ‘you’ have to be careful when you’re in job search, you’re vulnerable, and that’s when some of your fellow ‘humans’ are going to try to pounce. I have to get 10-15 emails a day off me a job, offering me a way to earn money at home, offering me a way to earn money w/o working; informing me that my long lost relative from Botswana has died and left their entire estate to me; or, some poor person is dying and wants someone they can trust to manage their affairs prior and post death. As a wise main (maybe the wise man) once said, "If it looks to good to be true, it is".

Job Search Scams: 6 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft
Identity theft rings have set their sights on the 15.7 million Americans who are unemployed and looking for work. Here’s how to ensure you don’t end up a victim.
By Meridith Levinson

Fri, November 13, 2009 — CIO — As U.S. unemployment has increased, so too has the number of job search scams identity theft rings are perpetrating against desperate job seekers.

"We have seen a large proliferation of these scams over the past six to nine months because of the employment situation," says Lyn Chitow Oaks, chief marketing officer of TrustedID, which provides identity-theft protection services to individuals, families and businesses.

She notes that identity thieves are targeting job seekers because they’re vulnerable and willing to share personal information as part of the job search process.

['s IT Job Search Bible ]

Two types of job search scams are most common, according to Oaks. One is a phishing scam, where identity theft perpetrators e-mail would-be victims to tell them about potential jobs and opportunities to make extra money. The e-mails direct recipients to websites that identity thieves have created specifically for gathering personal information, just as if it were a job application, says Oaks.

These fake applications request all the information job seekers would expect to provide, such as their name, address and phone number, as well as for information they may not expect to offer so early in the process, she adds, such as their Social Security number, permission to conduct a background check and bank account information.

"They tell you they need your bank account information so they can make sure your check can be direct deposited," she says, adding that they’ll sometimes go so far as to say that they’ll place money in your account and then remove it just to make sure it works.

[ Five Ways to Fight ID Theft ]

"By allowing them to place money in your account and remove it, you let your bank know that this ’employer’ can take money out of your account, and that’s how they wipe out people’s bank accounts," says Oaks. Never mind the fact that you’ll never receive any information about any job from one of these e-mails.

Oaks adds that the identity thieves buy e-mail addresses from legitimate businesses who don’t realize they’re selling people’s information to the Internet black market.

In the second scam, identity thieves pose as employers on legitimate job search sites. They post a generic job that would appeal to a large number of people, Oaks says, and in the course of talking to applicants, they ask for personal information.

"There are identity thieves all over valid and existing job search websites who are posing as employers," she says.

Oaks’ advice to job seekers is simple: Be wary of the information you’re sharing and at which point in the hiring process you’re sharing it. Here are six specific tips:

1. Never share your bank account information up front. Legitimate employers don’t need to access your bank account until you become an employee, says Oaks. If they ask for it as part of the application process, it’s a warning sign that this "employer" may be up to no good.

2. Never share your Social Security number up front. Legitimate employers will ask for your Social Security number only when they’re serious about making a job offer (e.g., after they’ve interviewed you) and need to conduct a background check, or after you’ve accepted their offer and they need your Social Security number for tax purposes, says Oaks. Identity thieves will find sneaky ways to ask for your Social Security number up front. Don’t fall for their ploys.

3. Never agree to a background check up front. "Until you know you’re a candidate for a position, it’s not necessary for an employer to do a background check," says Oaks, adding that the only exception may be the government. "They need your Social Security number to complete a background check," she says, "and if you give them the opportunity to do that, they’ll learn all kinds of personal information."

4. Research potential employers. If you’re unsure whether a potential employer you’ve found on a job search site is legitimate, Oaks says to find out whether the business has a physical address and to check with the Better Business Bureau in the state where the business is allegedly located to make sure they’re licensed.

5. Consider sharing less information on your resume. Many people include their phone numbers and mailing addresses on their resumes, and indeed, employers like to know job applicants’ area codes and Zip codes because they sometimes screen candidates based on that information. But if you’re wary of identity theft, you may want to include only an e-mail address, at least during initial stages with prospective employers, says Oaks. She also recommends creating a unique e-mail address for your job search. "If employers are interested in you," she says, "they’ll contact you."

6. Opt out. When you sign up for e-mail newsletters and offers from legitimate businesses, opt out of receiving offers from their third-party business partners. That can cut down on the amount of spam e-mail you receive and decrease the chances of your personal information ending up on the black market.

Oaks says she hasn’t seen any sign of these job search scams abating, but she expects that as the holiday season approaches, identity thieves will shift their tactics to target bargain shoppers.

"We’ll see some shift to that, then we’ll see it come back [to job search scams]," she says. "As long as job seekers are willing to share information, identity thieves will be happy to take it."

Surviving an (Early-Career) Layoff

DFN: Younger workers have a hard time getting back into the workforce after getting laid off. The ‘lessons’ here are applicable to any laid off or concerned about being laid off.

Advice: Surviving an Early-Career Layoff
November 13, 2009, 12:23 PM ET
By Alina Dizik

Getting laid off right after you’ve landed your first post-college job can be a difficult adjustment. And it may mean that after months of searching for the right fit, you’re back at square one. Heather Huhman founder of Come Recommended, an online community for entry-level job seekers, says it can be especially tough for recent grads to deal with the experience. Because it is your first job and layoff, “You feel as though you have taken one step forward and two steps back—you worked hard throughout college, worked hard to find a job and then were the first to be let go,” Ms. Huhman says.

Here, Ms. Huhman shares advice on how recent graduates can find work after a layoff:

What mistakes do job seekers who haven’t spent much time in the workforce tend to make?

Lack of focus — a specific career goal is the single most important component in a successful job search. People spend more time researching a laptop purchase than they do researching the career that’s right for them. When you went to college, you did your research. [Another mistake is] not following up, this stalls any job search. Not following up on an interview or a contact can cause you to miss out on opportunities. I had a client who received a rejection letter in the mail. He thought the interview went well so he was mystified. At my suggestion, he called the recruiter for feedback. As it turned out, he got the wrong letter; they very much wanted to hire him.

If you’re competing with more senior-level job hunters, what are some strategies to get back into the workforce and to make a recent grad more desirable?

Most recent graduates are extremely flexible—or at least they should be. Many more senior-level job hunters have a particular salary and location in mind; not to mention they are often more set in their ways in terms of organizational style. Gen Y candidates have less experience and often are not as bound by salary or organizational style. Recent graduates bring a lot of technological expertise to the workforce that more senior-level job hunters have not had time to explore. It is definitely essential that recent graduates find a way to apply their technological expertise to the positions for which they are applying.

If younger workers haven’t had the chance to build valuable full-time experience, how can they speak about their most recent position?

During interviews, younger workers can speak about the practical experience they gained through internships, class projects, leadership roles and volunteer work. Even if you’ve never worked at a job a day in your life, you still have experience. Talk about what you know and can do based on your hobbies, what you’ve learned in class, [and] what you’ve learned doing extra-curricular activities.

What is a misconception of people who have been let go from their first job?

That unless you get a full-time job you will lose all your experience. If you are willing to work a few hours for free, few organizations will turn you away and this is a great way to set yourself apart within your industry. Even though you are technically unemployed, future employers will be impressed with your ability to fill your time with relevant experience. Unemployment is a good opportunity to find an unpaid internship with a company that impresses you. This is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door and in front of key people.

Readers, have you experienced a layoff after recently entering the workforce? What is your strategy for getting back to work? Share your stories in the comments section.

Tips on How to Communicate Better

DFN: My wife is always telling me, communications is the key to a good relationship. Goes for the job search process.

Tips On How To Communicate Better
Posted: 13 Nov 2009 09:21 AM PST

Communication matters and today our channels of contact are numerous, immediate and impressionable. Whether we are a manager, a candidate, a friend or family member it is important our communications get the message across effectively. And in today’s world of immediacy, the messages fly from all directions at all times. Most of us practice effective communication but the truth is a number don’t and there are plenty of times when the communication channel fails and we don’t know it. So what can we do to insure we communicate effectively? Here are a few tips based on my recent experiences in the marketplace.

Voice Mail:
It is frustrating to receive voice mail that is long. Get to the point.
It is frustrating when the person gives their contact number rapidly. If you want the call returned speak the number slowly and twice if you can.
If you really want to get the message across leave the voice mail early in the am so it is one of the first messages heard and can be reacted to throughout the day.

Use the subject line effectively. Try to communicate who you are and the reason for the message. Many of us get tens to hundred of emails daily and spend some time searching through them to find data we need. Yes there are effective mail search engines but make it easy to find your message. Someone may have given up searching for you yesterday with a great opportunity and you’ll never know.
Check your message. Use spell check but still take the time to review your text to insure you don’t send out an important message with grammatical errors you typically don’t make. Don’t let oversight become a perception of who you are. We have all made these errors and will make them again…try not to. Best to practice the carpenter’s adage of measure twice cut once.

Text, IM, Social and Tweets
These are convenient ways to message but please do not convey important information about serious matters. With little text the context of meaning gets lost and it is the perception that can become something not intended resulting in the wrong message.
You’ve heard it, seen it and experienced the example of the communication you wish you never ‘put out there’ but it is there and may come back to haunt you. Yes, employers look at the social networks, your blog post and Google for anything else they can find. They do and others will. The point is to think about you message before sending – be careful.
Communication today is so much more effective today than it was before the Internet. I remember as a child visiting my aunt and uncle in rural Oklahoma when they had the old party line phone where you had to ring the operator, she connected you and others could listen. My mom let me talk on the phone and my aunt told me to be careful – people were listening. Hmmmm, the more things change…

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