NBCUniversal and its parent company, Comcast, have been talking seriously with Microsoft about buying out the Redmond company’s stake in their msnbc.com joint venture, according to a report this afternoon by AdWeek.
The story quotes “several sources” with first-hand knowledge of the situation saying that Comcast is conducting its due diligence as a prelude to a possible deal to end the joint venture by this summer. Executives with the companies aren’t commenting on the report.
Msnbc.com is operated separately from the msnbc cable channel. The television property was originally an NBC-Microsoft joint venture, as well, before NBC purchased Microsoft’s stake in the cable joint venture. AdWeek says NBCU wants control of the web property in part to give its msnbc television personalities a higher online profile.
The buyout could include a provision to continue promoting msnbc.com from the MSN home page, a significant driver of traffic. If the joint venture is unwound, one question is whether msnbc.com would remain based on the Microsoft campus in Redmond.
(Note: GeekWire is a media partner of msnbc.com, which publishes selected GeekWire stories.)