4 Oct

General Electric will use proceeds from NBCUniversal sale to repurchase 10 billion

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Scott Mayerowitz, The Associated Press Posted Feb 12, 2013 10:32 pm MDT NEW YORK, N.Y. – General Electric is saying goodbye to 30 Rock — the famous building and the TV business born there.It’s another step in GE’s efforts to focus on less glamorous — but theoretically more profitable — ventures such as manufacturing medical imaging equipment, airplane engines and electrical generators.The Fairfield, Connecticut, company announced Tuesday that it is selling its 49 per cent stake in NBCUniversal to Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable TV operator, for $16.7 billion. Comcast had bought a majority stake in the television and movie company in January 2011 and was expected to buy out GE’s remaining stake over the next several years.General Electric will use the money to accelerate its share repurchase program to approximately $10 billion in 2013.“This transaction allows us to significantly increase the cash we plan to return to shareholders in 2013, to approximately $18 billion, and to continue to invest in our industrial business,” GE CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement.GE is giving up its stake in one of America’s best-known brands.The sale includes the NBC broadcast network, which airs everything from “Law & Order” to “The Office” and “The Biggest Loser.” The company also owns cable networks Bravo, CNBC, Telemundo, USA and the Golf Channel. There’s also Universal Pictures, which over its 100 years has offered movies including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” ”The Sting,” ”Jurassic Park” and “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.”GE’s capital unit will also sell the floors NBCUniversal occupies in the iconic 30 Rockefeller Center building in New York as well as property in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, for $1.4 billion. GE will retain two floors at 30 Rock, spokesman Seth Martin said.The sale of the Rockefeller Center floors includes naming rights to the building, which has featured giant red “GE” letters at its top since 1988, a prominent part of the New York skyline.A spokesman for Philadelphia-based Comcast said the company had no comment on its plans for the 1933 Art Deco building.GE’s history with NBC goes back to 1919, when it co-founded the Radio Corporation of America, or RCA. The company pioneered commercial radio broadcasting. In 1926, RCA launched a television arm: the National Broadcasting Company, or NBC. Within two years, it had started the first regularly scheduled U.S. television programming in Schenectady, New York, then the site of GE headquarters.GE sold its stake in RCA in 1932. But in 1986, GE ended up acquiring RCA, selling off its record label and television-manufacturing business. All that remained was NBC.During the GE years, NBC was home to a number of hits including “Friends,” ”Seinfeld,” ”ER,” ”Frasier,” and the “West Wing.” Millions of American tuned in each night to watch the network’s lineup, which was sold as “Must See TV.”In 2011, GE sold its majority ownership of NBCUniversal to Comcast for $8 billion in cash and reduced its ownership share from 80 per cent to 49 per cent. Tuesday’s sale of the remaining stake gives GE cash to focus on its industrial businesses, such as building train locomotives, wind turbines and lights.In 2007, just before the financial crisis hit with full force, GE’s finance arm accounted for about 55 per cent of the company’s earnings, according to Martin. NBCUniversal contributed about $3 billion of the company’s $22 billion in operating profit.In 2012, GE’s industrial segment — including a growing energy-infrastructure business — had a profit of $15.49 billion, compared with $7.4 billion from GE Capital.General Electric CEO Immelt said that Tuesday’s sale of NBCUniversal will allow his company to “accelerate our investment in our core businesses.”Showbiz might be sexy, but for GE the profit apparently is in manufacturing the devices that generate the power for our TVs.___Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott. General Electric will use proceeds from NBCUniversal sale to repurchase $10 billion in shares read more

2 Oct

Hockey may shift from midget and other traditional names to age descriptors

Traditional youth hockey age group names — novice, peewee, atom, bantam and, most notably, midget — could soon be revised as at least one provincial hockey organization has kickstarted the process that could eventually create a countrywide adjustment in the sport.At a meeting this week, BC Hockey’s board of directors discussed the topic of division names used by its minor hockey association members. The subject was raised in part due to other sport organizations moving to eliminate the term ‘midget,’ but also because a potential shift to age-specific categories (U15, U17, etc.) may prove to be an easier classification system, an association spokesman said.“The BC Hockey board has directed staff to make recommendations for new names to be implemented within the BC Hockey membership (British Columbia and the Yukon),” BC Hockey CEO Barry Petrachenko said in an email to The Canadian Press. “These recommendations will also be brought forward for consideration to the Hockey Canada membership for implementation nationally.“Work has begun on developing these recommendations and a decision by the BC Hockey board regarding this topic is expected in the new year.”Athletics Canada recently said it would pursue dropping the term “midget” as an age category descriptor, a move that came a few days after the Ontario Basketball Association stated its plans to do the same. The term has been used for decades in a variety of sports but many consider it to be a derogatory slur.Allan Redford, the director of the Dwarf Athletic Association of Canada, applauded the recent developments and hopes others may follow suit.“I’m actually wonderfully encouraged that they’re taking this approach and that it’s getting this much traction,” Redford said Wednesday. “I’m very, very pleased.”Hockey Canada, the sport’s national governing body, has 13 members — essentially provincial/territorial or regional organizations — across the country. On a national level, any adjustments to age categories or divisions require a regulation change brought forward by a member or the Hockey Canada board.That could happen at the next scheduled members’ meeting in May or at Hockey Canada’s annual congress next fall.“What I would perceive based on the publicity associated with the terminology as we’re currently using, is that that would be an entirely likely situation, that it would come before our members and therefore our board,” said Hockey Canada senior vice-president Glen McCurdie, who helps oversee safety and regulations. In email replies, Hockey PEI and Hockey Quebec said they would be reviewing their category setups with their respective memberships. The Saskatchewan Hockey Association and Hockey Manitoba, meanwhile, said they do not have plans to put anything forward to Hockey Canada.There was no immediate response from the other hockey organizations contacted via email by The Canadian Press.The International Ice Hockey Federation currently uses age designators as does USA Hockey, which dropped the use of traditional terms for the 2016-17 season.Hockey Canada classifies the midget category as players who are under 18 as of Dec. 31 of the current season. Bantam is for athletes under 15, with peewee, atom and novice used as classifications for younger players. Some organizations use descriptors like minor midget and major midget as well.The midget category is also used by some youth football organizations across Canada. While age descriptors are used at that sport’s national level, Football Canada executive director Shannon Donovan said the organization would be reviewing the subject with its board and provincial members.Regina Scott of Guelph, Ont., who has a two-year-old son with dwarfism, helped make a change at her local youth basketball association after noticing the term on a banner at a mall earlier this month.The association quickly took steps to make changes and the OBA got on board. Basketball Canada, which already uses age category descriptors, supported the moves.Redford, who’s also president of the Little People of Ontario, said the word’s use as a slur originates from the oppression and exploitation of people with dwarfism in “freak shows” in the mid-1800s. “The line is that it’s not about sensitivity, it’s not about being a snowflake, it’s about awareness, acceptance and respect,” Redford said. “It comes right back to taking control over being and the right of self-identification.”——Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press read more