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Microsoft sells stake, NBC takes control of MSNBC TV

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MUMBAI: Microsoft is ending a partnership that had long turned sour. The software giant is selling most of its stake in MSNBC TV, the television venture it had with NBC. The two companies have agreed to dissolve their joint ownership of the cable news channel, with NBC taking control.

NBC Universal will now have 82 per cent stake in MSNBC TV with an option to buy out the rest within two years, according to the agreement. The two companies had a 50-50 partnership in the cable news channel. Neither NBC nor Microsoft, however, disclosed the financial terms in the announcement.

This has not upset the joint holding in the news portal, MSNBC.com. Both Miscrosoft and NBC will continue to share equal ownership in M SNBC.com. "Together, Microsoft and NBC Universal have grown MSNBC.com to the number one news site," said Bruce Jaffe, a Microsoft corporate vice president. "We are totally committed to taking MSNBC.com to even higher levels of success through our unparalleled marriage of technological innovation and news content."

Microsoft joined hands with NBC to launch the cable channel in 1996. Though the channel started generating profits after a long wait of 8 years, it has been lagging far behind its rival news cable channels, Fox News and CNN. Media reports suggest that, the split now gives NBC options for a name change, as part of its efforts to woo more viewers.

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