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GE DUMPS KIDDER; IS NBC THE NEXT TO GO?
Published October 18, 1994
PaineWebber announced yesterday that they have signed a "definitive purchase agreement" to take over most of Kidder Peabody, the troubled investment banking subsidiary of General Electric, for $670M in common and preferred stock. The deal ends GE's troubled eight-year ownership of Kidder, which has been hit this year by tumbling bond markets and an alleged bond trading fraud which resulted in fictitious profits of $350M. The deal will leave GE with a seat on the board and a 25% stake in PaineWebber (Richard Waters, FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/18). In all, GE officials said the company expects a $500M write-off to cover the transaction. But that figure is well under the $1B or more that some analysts had suggested it would cost to close Kidder (Douglas Frantz, N.Y. TIMES, 10/18). John Durie writes GE Chair Jack Welch may look for a "blockbuster sale to wipe out the Kidder memory" -- with NBC the prime target. Welch "is aiming for a sale price of about $5.5 billion, or a capital gain of $2 billion." Michael Eisner is Welch's "best hope," but a combo of ITT and a baby bell or John Malone and Ted Turner is possible (N.Y. POST, 10/18).