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As media and entertainment companies seek cash and liquidity amid the coronavirus pandemic, NBCUniversal continues to take a close look at its portfolio of investments.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it had sold about half of its stake in Peloton Interactive, the fitness company that broadcasts live-streaming workout videos to users of its exercise equipment.
NBCUniversal, led by CEO Jeff Shell, converted more than 10.3 million Peloton Class B shares into Class A shares and subsequently sold 5.2 million of those shares for $34.21 each, netting the company about $178 million. NBCU still holds more than 5.1 million shares in Peloton. It is not immediately clear whether the company intends to hold on to those shares or liquidate them.
NBCU was an early investor in the company, which went public in September of last year. The media and entertainment giant participated in Peloton’s Series E and Series F funding rounds in 2017 and 2018. NBCUniversal also partnered with Peloton on content, most notably streaming some classes in 2018 from Pyeongchang, South Korea, during the Winter Olympics.
NBCU owned 19.1 percent of Peloton’s shares as of Oct. 31, 2019; however, the fitness company has significantly expanded its share base after the IPO, which would suggest that NBCU’s stake was effectively below 4 percent. Peloton’s lockup period for insiders expired in late February, allowing certain employees and early investors to begin selling their stakes.
In its 2019 annual report, NBCU’s parent company, Comcast, reported that it had $184 million in unrealized gains related to its stake in Peloton.
The Peloton sale is the second major recent stock sale from NBCU. The company sold its entire $500 million stake in Snap Inc. last year, reporting a gain of $293 million in fiscal 2019. With debt obligations stemming from its acquisition of Sky and billions of dollars committed to the Peacock streaming service, the company decided that its cash would be best put to use on internal efforts rather than investment in an outside company.
Comcast also raised $4 billion in debt last month in response to the virus crisis, boosting its liquidity.
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