NBC may buy Microsoft's MSNBC.com stake

Fri May 25, 2012 6:53am EDT

An NBC sign on the General Electric building in New York October 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Segar

An NBC sign on the General Electric building in New York October 5, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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(Reuters) - NBCUniversal is in talks to buy out Microsoft Corp's 50 percent stake in joint venture MSNBC.com, media reports said.

NBCU parent Comcast Corp is conducting due diligence and the partnership with NBC News could be unwound by this summer, said Adweek, which first reported the talks.

"Discussions are taking place," Amy Lynn, director of communications at NBC News, told the Wall Street Journal.

The companies are likely to negotiate a deal ensuring that MSNBC.com secures real estate on MSN.com, similar to the treatment Fox Sports receives, Adweek said.

NBC and Microsoft joined forces in 1996 to create a cable news channel and online news operation that melded broadcasting with then-emerging internet technology.

MSNBC and MSNBC.com are now separate operations, and Microsoft no longer has a stake in the cable channel.

In recent years MSNBC has moved toward overtly liberal programming, featuring commentators such as Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow, while the news website has kept its focus on straight news reporting and the main online outlet for NBC News.

(Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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