[11/20/07 - 11:44 AM]
NBC Universal Completes Acquisition of Oxygen Media
Lauren Zalaznick, President of Bravo Media, has been appointed to oversee Oxygen Media.

[via press release from NBC]


Bravo Media President Lauren Zalaznick Adds Oversight Of Oxygen to her Portfolio

Oxygen Co-founder Lisa Gersh to Stay on Through Transition Before Assuming New Leadership Role at NBC Universal

NEW YORK - November 20, 2007 - NBC Universal has completed its acquisition of Oxygen Media, one of the nation's leading female-focused cable television networks. The transaction is valued at approximately $875 million net of financial assets. Today's announcement was made by Jeff Zucker, President and CEO, NBC Universal.

The acquisition by NBC Universal is part of the company's strategy to transform its portfolio and focus on assets with potential for rapid growth. Oxygen will become part of the NBC Universal Cable group, led by Jeff Gaspin, President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Television Group. Oxygen strengthens NBC Universal's position of leadership in upscale, female-focused media. Its audience complements the viewers of Bravo and the Today show and visitors to iVillage, the leading online site for women. These assets across multiple platforms give NBCU an even more attractive go-to-market position in the fast-growing women's entertainment and lifestyle market.

Zucker said: "We are thrilled to add Oxygen Media to our roster of high-growth cable networks. Geraldine Laybourne and her team have built an exciting and dynamic brand with a great deal of potential, both domestically and internationally. We look forward to having Oxygen play a key role in the ongoing growth of our cable entertainment business."

Lauren Zalaznick, President of Bravo Media, has been appointed by Gaspin to oversee Oxygen Media, adding the network to her current responsibilities for Bravo Media. She will continue to report to Gaspin. Additionally, she will continue her service as Chair of NBC Universal's Green Council.

"We believe we can bring great value to the Oxygen brand, with our cross-promotion opportunities, programming expertise and distribution team," said Gaspin. "Lauren has had tremendous success growing Bravo and we know, with her talent and passion, she will do the same with Oxygen."

Under Zalaznick's watch, Bravo has achieved record ratings and critical acclaim and recently completed the highest-rated quarter in its history among adults 18-49 and total viewers. The most affluent basic cable entertainment network, Bravo has also become a leader in providing original content for wireless and interactive platforms. Zalaznick oversaw the launch of Bravo's suite of digital and broadband services, including BravoTV.com, OutZoneTV.com, and the recently acquired TelevisionWithoutPity.com. During her tenure, the channel has received 23 Emmy nominations, winning four Emmy Awards in 2007. This year, Bravo has also been nominated for awards recognizing Environmentalism, Diversity, and New Media. For a complete bio of Zalaznick, log on to nbcumv.com.

"I'm very proud of what we've built at Oxygen," said Laybourne. "As I leave the company, I am delighted to pass the torch to Lauren, a seasoned executive with a proven track record."

Lisa Gersh, President and Chief Operating Officer of Oxygen Media, will remain in this role through a three-month transition period before assuming a new position at NBC Universal. A co-founder of Oxygen, Gersh was integral in driving the channel's dynamic ad sales growth and distribution to more than 74 million subscribers since its launch in 2000.

"Lisa is one of the main reasons Oxygen has become such a valuable brand within the cable marketplace," said Zucker. "She will be a tremendous asset as we integrate Oxygen into the NBC Universal family and we're delighted that an executive of her caliber and experience will be staying on with us in a new role."

Oxygen joins NBC Universal's fully-owned cable entertainment networks, which include USA Network, the most-watched basic cable network in every key demographic; Bravo, the most upscale basic cable network, which just completed the best third quarter in its history; and SCI FI, the sixth-ranked basic cable entertainment network. Along with CNBC and MSNBC, NBC Universal's cable entertainment networks account for 50% of the company's profits and are experiencing double-digit year-over-year growth.

The transaction will be accretive to earnings after the first full year, and is valued at an attractive price per subscriber of less than $12. NBC Universal expects revenue and cost synergies of approximately $35 million in 2008.

About NBC Universal:

NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.

About Oxygen Media:

Oxygen is currently available in over 74 million homes. The network was launched in 2000 to fill a void in the television landscape -- creating a network targeted to younger women. Oxygen is rewriting the rulebook for women's television, with vast array of unconventional and original programming including The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, The Bad Girls Club, Tori & Dean: Inn Love and Campus Ladies. Geraldine Laybourne, the network's founder, has led the company to be a strong advocate for women. Through programs like The Mentor's Walk, Oxygen's national program for bringing along the next generation, and "Who Cares About Girls," Oxygen's new documentary series -- Oxygen is creating The New Girls Network.

  [november 2007]  

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