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Comcast to discuss NBC deal during conference call

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Comcast is holding a conference call Wednesday morning to discuss its fourth-quarter earnings and elaborate on a $16.7 billion deal that will give the cable-TV giant full ownership of NBCUniversal. The call with analysts is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. ET.

The decision to buy General Electric Co.'s 49 percent stake came as a surprise when Comcast announced the purchase late Tuesday.

When Comcast acquired a controlling interest in NBCUniversal in 2011, the company planned to take seven years to buy the rest of GE's stake.

But Comcast decided it made sense to work out a deal with GE now because the improved performance of the NBC broadcast network and cable-TV programming made it more likely the price would rise in the future.

Comcast also will review its financial performance for the final three months of last year. The company, which is based in Philadelphia, reported Tuesday that its fourth-quarter earnings rose 18 percent from the previous year while it lost just 7,000 cable-TV subscribers, the lowest rate of attrition in five years. Comcast ended December with 22 million video subscribers.

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