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

Courtesy of Euronews
Euronews headquarters in Lyon, France

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.