This story has been simmering for quite a while, but lately the story is percolating more. That's mostly due to the timing, coming up in mid November, when Vivendi can exercise its option to sell its stake in NBC Universal either through an initial public offering or purchase by GE. According to the New York Times, Vivendi now plans to exercise it right to sell:
Executives at General Electric say they believe that Vivendi, the French conglomerate, will exercise its right later this year to sell its stake in NBC Universal, a move that could lead to NBC Universal’s being spun off into a separate public company in 2010, according to people briefed on the matter who spoke anonymously in order to discuss internal deliberations.
While G.E.’s chief executive Jeffrey R. Immelt has often said publicly that the company plans to stay in the media business, a sale of Vivendi’s 20 percent share of NBC Universal in the public market would give G.E. more options if it chose to exit the television and film business by selling its 80 percent stake.