Bill O'Reilly, call your office: Citing CNBC, Reuters says Rupert Murdoch is interested in buying a piece of NBC Universal, which could lead to a major embarrassment when O'Reilly draws Keith Olbermann in the corporate Secret Santa program.
Reuters says both Murdoch and Liberty Media's John Malone are sniffing around the 20 percent stake in NBC Universal that Vivendi is prepared to sell, but neither man has actually approached NBC Universal owner GE about a deal. As much as we'd love to imagine MSNBC under Murdoch's gentle-but-firm leadership, here's why it's not going to happen:
1. The report of Murdoch's interest comes via CNBC, which is the preferred in-house avenue for GE getting its messages out there on this deal. So it's almost certainly just a way for GE to keep pressure on Comcast and let them know that it has other options.
2. The FCC would blow a gasket. News Corp. already owns two television stations in nine markets, and is maxed out in terms of how many the FCC will let him own. It's unclear to us whether a minority stake in NBC Universal would trigger the FCC's limits on ownership and require Murdoch to sell off some of his assets in order to satisfy regulators, but the anti-trust implications of one television, cable, and movie giant owning a significant stake of another television, cable, and movie giant—especially when radical leftists control the White House and the Justice Department—make it a far stretch.
3. The Comcast purchase is a done deal, because the mellifluously named prognosticator Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's computer has ordained that it will happen. Bueno de Mesquita, whom the CIA hires to predict the future using Microsoft Excel and has a purported 90 percent accuracy rate, was asked by the Wall Street Journal's Dennis K. Berman to weigh in on the acquisition, and he says it will happen, based on what Berman told him about the players' intentions:
For the Comcast-NBCU game, I provided Dr. Bueno de Mesquita a crude approximation of the positions of the dozen parties most likely to influence a deal.
Of course, these were rough estimates done on the fly. As Dr. Bueno de Mesquita reminded me, my evaluations could be flawed. His work was done over a weekend, which may influence the quality of the results. Most assignments can take three weeks, at an opening price of $50,000.
Oh, OK. That settles it then.