NBCUniversal in Talks to Buy Stake in "European CNN" Euronews

Euronews headquarters HQ - H 2016
Courtesy of Euronews

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, who owns 53 percent, would remain the controlling shareholder.

Comcast's NBCUniversal is in exclusive talks to acquire a minority stake in European news network Euronews, Europe's answer to CNN.

Reuters first reported the news, saying NBC News confirmed "discussions" about a "potential investment and collaborative partnership."

Euronews' supervisory board has asked CEO Michael Peters to lead the negotiations with an eye toward reaching a possible agreement by year's end, the report said.

NBCUniversal is understood to be looking at buying a stake of 15 to 30 percent. Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris owns 53 percent of Euronews and would remain the controlling shareholder.

With the two news operations being seen as complementary, a deal could expand NBC News' ability to cover Europe, where Brexit and other topics have been big stories, while it could also boost Euronews' U.S. coverage at a time Europeans are interested in how president-elect Donald Trump will affect American politics.

Observers say Euronews could also benefit from having a partner that produces different formats and has increased its digital presence. Plus a U.S. partner could help Euronews further with its new mission statement of representing "all views."

NBC News is led by president Deborah Turness, a British journalist who is a former ITV News editor.

A price tag wasn't immediately clear. Sawiris bought his 53 percent stake in Euronews for a reported price tag of 35 million euros, or around $40 million at the time.

Created in 1993 with the goal of becoming the "European CNN," Euronews was originally owned by a consortium of state-owned European networks, which later became minority shareholders. Based in Lyon, France, it airs in 13 languages and covers 155 countries.

On its website, it says it is the most-watched news channel in Europe with more than 400 journalists.