NBCI GOES BACK TO NBC

NEW YORK — Internet portal NBCi has agreed to be acquired by minority investor NBC in a stock-swap deal for $2.19 a share, or $138 million that represents a 46 percent premium over NBCi’s closing price of $1.50 a share Friday, making the media players the latest to reincorporate a ‘Net unit back into a parent company.
NBC, a subsidiary of General Electric, currently holds a 38.6 percent stake in NBCi, which was created in 1999, when the TV network merged some of its key Internet assets, like NBC.com and NBC Interactive Neighborhood, with Xoom.com and CNET’s Snap.com. It also holds 25 percent of Polo.com parent Ralph Lauren Media.
The arrangement marks the second time in two weeks NBC has been a player in an Internet consolidation deal. Last Wednesday, as reported in WWD, NBC said it was selling its Enhanced Broadcast Group to Minneapolis-based home-shopping network ValueVision International — which, like, NBC, owns a piece of Polo.com. Prior to the reincorporation of NBCi, NBC had a 25 percent stake in Ralph Lauren Media, with ValueVision holding 12.5 percent of the entity; NBCi, 10 percent, and CNBC.com, 2.5 percent, while Polo controlled 50 percent of the venture.