NBC Universal is said to be in talks with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to buy back the software company’s part in the joint venture, MSNBC.com. An NBC spokesperson told the Associated Press that “conversations were taking place,” but that a deal had not yet been reached. The move originates from the network’s plan to separate its television and online brands. NBC is a joint venture between Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and General Electric (NYSE:GE).
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MSNBC.com does original news reporting and aggregates content from the AP, Reuters, New York Times, and other news sources. It ranks among the top 2,000 websites in the U.S. Two years ago, NBC Universal and Microsoft had considered changing the name of the website to end some of the brand confusion, but ultimately decided against it.
The two companies first partnered in 1995, with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) investing $220 million for a 50 percent stake in the online news property and the MSNBC cable television channel. NBC acquired a majority stake in the channel when the television partnership ended in 2005.