Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Comcast Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Comcast RSS feed en Mon, 22 Jul 2019 15:06:21 +0100 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Comcast drops 21st Century Fox bid to refocus on the pursuit of UK pay-TV firm Sky ]]> Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is dropping its bid for 21st Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX) to refocus on the £25.9bn pursuit of UK pay-TV firm Sky PLC (LON:SKY).

In a statement on its website, Comcast - which owns CNBC, NBC Universal and Universal Pictures – said it “does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the Twenty-First Century Fox assets and, instead, will focus on our recommended offer for Sky."

READ: Sky up as investors bet Comcast's raised bid won’t be the last move in the battle with Fox

The move leaves the field clear for The Walt Disney Company’s (NYSE:DIS) US$71.3bn bid to win control of a swath of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox media assets, with the movie studios giant having gained US Department of Justice approval for the deal last month providing it sells-off Fox's 22 regional sports networks.

Last week, Comcast trumped a rival bid from Fox for Sky, with its increased, recommended cash offer pitched at 1,475p a share, well above Fox’s raised bid of 1,400p a share, which values Sky in total at £24.5bn.

Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky, initially launched a 1,075p per share agreed bid for the outstanding 61% in December 2016.

However, the then £19bn takeover bid was embroiled in a takeover probe until this month when the UK government finally approved the deal as long as the Sky News business is sold off to a “suitable third party”.

In reaction to the latest bid saga twist. Sky shares in London fell 2.1% to 1,499.5p in early afternoon trading, with investors betting that Fox won’t now continue the bidding war for the UK firm.

Meanwhile, in pre-market New York trading, Fox shares were 1.3% lower at US$45.74, while Comcast added 2.8% at US$34.99, and Disney was up 1.2% at US$112.05.

Thu, 19 Jul 2018 09:22:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast bids $34bln for Sky, tops Fox’s offer ]]> Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has boosted its cash offer for Sky PLC (LSE:SKY) to US$34bln, topping 21 Century Fox Inc.'s (NASDAQ:FOXA) latest bid of US$32.5bln. 

In yet another twist to the takeover saga, Comcast said its cash offer has been recommended by Sky’s independent committee of directors and that it has committed financing required for the deal.

"Comcast has long admired Sky and believes it is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast. Today’s announcement further underscores Comcast’s belief and its commitment to owning Sky," the company said in a release on Wednesday evening. 

READ: Clash of the (media) titans: What is driving the Fox, Comcast, Disney bidding war over Sky?

The company said it has received regulatory approvals in the EU, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Jersey and expects to complete the acquisition before the end of October 2018. 

Shares of Comcast were up 1.30% at US$33.78 on Wednesday. 

Wed, 11 Jul 2018 18:29:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Clash of the (media) titans: What drove the Fox, Comcast, Disney bidding war over Sky? ]]> The bidding war over broadcaster Sky PLC (LON:SKY) is finally over.

On Saturday, US media giant Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA) managed to outbid Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX) in an auction process instigated last Friday by the UK's takeover panel with a knockout bid of 1,728p per share, valuing the company at £30bn and massively trumping Fox's own bid of 1,567p per share.

READ: Sky set to be acquired by Comcast for £30.6bn after Fox trumped in sealed-bid auction

Comcast's victory marks the end of what has been a confusing and ever-shifting sequence of events between three media titans, Fox, Comcast, and fellow media conglomerate The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) over what was initially considered to be a relatively mundane takeover of Sky.

Which begs the question, what exactly was going on, and why?

What happened?

Fox initially attempted to purchase the remaining 61% of Sky that it does not currently own and made a £19bn offer for the remaining two-ish thirds of the broadcaster.

On 27 February, Comcast made a surprise bid for Sky at £22.1bn, 16% higher than the £19bn offer from Fox.

Sky shares jumped 20% on the day while the company withdrew its recommendation of Fox’s takeover bid.

The UK’s regulators did not seem too bothered about Comcast’s presence, with the then culture secretary Matt Hancock approving both takeover bids in June, although with the caveat that Fox must sell off Sky News amid concerns of Murdoch’s influence in the UK media.

READ: UK government approves Fox's takeover of Sky as long as it agrees to sell off Sky News

However, Fox returned fire in July with an increased offer for the Sky shares at 1,400p, or £24.5bn, much higher than its initial bid and overtaking Comcast's offer of 1,250p, or £22bn.

This was reversed shortly afterwards as Comcast replied with its own revised bid of 1,475p per share, taking the highest bid total for Sky to £25.9bn.  

Despite the focus on Sky, the tussle was part of a wider bidding war that included a plethora of Fox's media assets over which Comcast was battling Disney.

Following an initial US$52.4bn bid for the Fox assets by Disney, which includes its movie and TV production arms (as well as the 39% of Sky owned by Fox), Comcast swooped in with its own US$65bn offer.

Disney then retaliated by upping its bid for Fox's assets to around US$71.3bn, with Fox's shareholders able to receive the consideration in cash or stock as opposed to Disney's previous all-stock offer.

READ: Comcast drops 21st Century Fox bid to refocus on the pursuit of UK pay-TV firm Sky

The move proved a step too far for Comcast, who on July 19 dropped its bid for the Fox assets, saying it would instead "focus on [its] recommended offer for Sky".

With the Fox asset battle more or less concluded, the Sky bidding war entered its endgame on 20 September, when the UK takeover panel decided that both Comcast and Fox would enter a three-round auction phase for the broadcaster that would run from 5pm on Friday 21 September until Saturday evening.

Comcast eventually emerged victorious from the auction with a bid of 1,728p per share, vastly outpacing Fox's own bid of 1,567p and effectively ending Murdoch's control of Sky and any chance of Disney taking control of the broadcaster through its purchase of Fox's assets.

What drove the bidding war?

One of the main reasons for the fight over Fox and Sky was the continued rise of streaming services as a replacement for cable-TV subscriptions.

Streaming giants such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), armed with huge programming budgets, are causing consumers to abandon cable-TV subscriptions at an increasing rate, which is cutting into media company profits.

Whoever gained control of Fox’s assets would have access to a bundle of iconic franchises including ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘X-Men’ (particularly interesting for Disney’s Marvel arm) among others, which would make their streaming offerings much more alluring.

Disney has already pulled most of its content for its own streaming service, intending to use its vast library of hits, which now include the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars (and Pixar!), to compete in the new media market.

With Comcast now out of the picture, the purchase of Fox’s assets will give Disney control over one of Netflix’s few real competitors, Hulu, as each of the three companies currently owns a 30% stake in the streamer.

Regarding Sky, its right to the broadcast of Premier League football matches has been one of the key drivers behind a possible takeover.

In April, George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, commented that the Premier League rights, which Sky secured for three more years, was a “game-changer” and that "the rights may come with multi-billion pound price tags, but Sky has proven the Premier League deals are well worth the outlay.”

What happens now?

News of the successful Comcast bid has sent Sky's share price soaring once again, up 8.6% at 1,721p in late-afternoon trading on Monday 24 September, within touching distance of Comcast's 1,728p bid.

However, despite Comcast taking control of the majority stake, Fox still owns 39% of the shares, although these will eventually pass to Disney as part of the asset deal assuming the firm decides not to sell its shares to Comcast, which would net it a tidy sum given the bidding war boost.

Ian Forrest, investment analyst at The Share Centre, said that for Comcast, the prospect of gaining Sky's 23mln customers across several large European markets proved "very tempting", providing the cable giant with a lucrative overseas business as it competes domestically with streaming firms.

IG market analyst Joshua Mahony adds that the purchase is another in a series of large US firms buying out UK companies as the weak pound helps to drive "bargain basement shopping" for conglomerates. Another key example of this was Coca-Cola's acquisition of the Costa Coffee chain after it was spun off from parent company Whitbread plc (LON:WTB) at the end of August. 

Thu, 14 Jun 2018 12:10:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast trumps Disney with US$65bn cash bid for chunk of 21st Century Fox's assets ]]> Cable operator Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) swooped in Wednesday and made a US$65bn cash offer for a big portion of the assets of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA).

The new offer trumps a US$52.4bln all-stock deal by Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) for the same 21st Fox assets, which Fox has agreed to.

If Comcast succeeds in outbidding Disney, it will gain control of Fox’s TV production and movie assets as well as its satellite channels Sky TV and Star in India and its global TV channels.

READ: 21st Century Fox bid battle could kick-off after key US court ruling approved another mega-takeover

Comcast’s offer in this high-stakes battle follows this week’s move by Federal Judge Richard Leon to give the green light to AT&T’s (NYSE:T) US$85bn deal to buy Time Warner (NYSE:TWX).

The ruling sets a precedent for other big mergers of it kind and suggests that Comcast may face less resistance in its attempt to outbid Disney for the Fox assets.

Comcast shares held steady to close at US$32.32 while class A shares of 21st Century Fox closed up 7.7%.

Wed, 13 Jun 2018 16:32:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast preparing 21st Century Fox bid, to top Walt Disney's US$52.4bn offer ]]> Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is preparing a bid for 21st Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ:FOXA) in a move to top Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE:DIS) US$52.4bn offer for Rupert Murdoch’s media business, another twist to the takeover saga.

In a statement following media reports, Comcast - the owner of broadcaster NBC Universal – confirmed it is in advanced stages of preparing a superior bid for Fox. It said: "Any offer for Fox would be all-cash and at a premium to the value of the current all-share offer from Disney."

READ: Comcast's takeover bid for Sky receives boost from Culture Secretary

"The structure and terms of any offer by Comcast, including with respect to both the spin-off of ‘New Fox’ and the regulatory risk provisions and the related termination fee, would be at least as favorable to Fox shareholders as the Disney offer," the cable operator added

Disney has agreed to buy Fox assets, including its film and TV studios and international pay-TV properties, but excluding the Fox News channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company and certain other assets.

The new turn in the saga comes with Comcast having already trumped Fox with a £22mln takeover bid for European pay-TV channel Sky PLC (LON:SKY), which had previously agreed to an offer from Fox, its majority shareholder.

READ: Sky News could be sold to Disney in bid to gain CMA approval for Fox-Sky takeover

Last month Sky pulled its recommendation for Fox’s offer to buy the 61% stake in the broadcaster that it does not already own after Comcast the swoop, with Fox’s 18-month pursuit of the group still awaiting a decision from the UK government.

Britain’s culture secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday this week that Comcast’s bid for Sky is unlikely to be referred to the media regulator for a full investigation.

After receiving a UK Competition and Markets Authority’s report into the deal earlier this month, Hancock has said he will deliver his verdict on Fox’s bid for Sky by June 13.

In April, the UK takeover regulator ruled that Walt Disney must make an offer for the whole of Sky if it succeeds in buying Fox’s entertainment assets, which includes its 39% stake in the European pay-TV company.

The Takeover Panel also said then that Disney must match Fox's 1,075p a share takeover offer for the shares in Sky it does not already own.

In pre-market New York trading, Comcast shares were down 2% at US$31.82, Disney shares lost 0.9% at US$103.13, while Fox shares added 1.1% at US$38.16.

In London, Sky shares were off 0.9% at 1,351p.

Wed, 23 May 2018 09:30:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast reportedly seeking support from banks to start a bidding war over 21st Century Fox assets ]]> News agency Reuters reported that Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is seeking finance so it can top the Disney bid for various media assets of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA).

Cable TV giant Comcast rained on Fox's parade by topping the latter's £19bn offer for pay-TV behemoth Sky PLC (LON:SKY) with a £22bn bid but Fox shareholders are likely to be happier at this latest twist in Comast-Sky-Fox-Disney ménage à quatre.

READ: Sky pulls recommendation for Fox takeover bid after higher offer from Comcast

Reuters reported that Comcast is asking investment banks to increase a bridge financing facility by as much as US$60bn so it can make an all-cash offer for the media assets that Fox has agreed to sell to Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) for US$52bn.

As if this tangle of bids and counter-bids could be any more complicated, Reuters says that Comcast's head honcho, Brian Roberts, will only pull the trigger on the Fox deal if a federal judge green-lights AT&T Inc's (NYSE:T) planned US$85bn acquisition of Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX).

Fox supremo Rupert Murdoch clearly thinks there is a high chance of the authorities blocking any move by Comcast for the assets Fox is looking to sell as he rebuffed an offer from Comcast last year for those assets that was more generous than the terms being offered by Disney.

EXCLUSIVE: Comcast arranging financing with banks for all-cash bid for 21st Century Fox - sources

— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) May 7, 2018

Reuters reports that Murdoch, whose stake in Fox is close to 17%, would prefer an all-share offer for the Fox assets as a way of thwarting the taxman.

UBS addressed the issue of how this development might affect the shares of Sky.

“At the margin, the news may be seen as negative for investor sentiment on Sky as it may limit Comcast’s ability to counter-bid should Fox raise its offer for Sky,” UBS said.

“Assuming Fox continues to pursue a deal with Disney, Fox will need to raise its bid for Sky from its current level of 1,075p plus dividends in order to win control. An increase would be supported by the recent benign outcome of the EPL [English Premier League] auction that has resulted in consensus estimates for Sky being raised by 20-30% for FY-20E onwards. The UK government has stated that it will give its ruling on the Fox/Sky deal by 13 June and it is at this point we think we could see Fox raising its bid for Sky,” UBS said.

UBS's stand-alone valuation for Sky is 1,320p but it sees an additional 180p of acquisition upside to derive its price target of 1,500p.

Shares in Sky were down 1.5% at 1,352p in mid-morning trading.

--- adds broker comment and Sky share price ---

Tue, 08 May 2018 09:42:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast Q1 earnings, revenue surpass estimates as company adds more Internet subscribers ]]> Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) advanced in morning trades after the largest U.S. cable provider reported better-than-estimated profit and revenue growth in the first quarter after signing up more Internet customers.

Net income rose to $2.1 billion, or $0.81 per share, in the January-to-March quarter, from $1.87 billion, or $0.71 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, profit was $0.79 per share. This beat analysts' estimates of $0.74 per share, according to Capital IQ data.

Revenue grew 2.6 percent to $17.9 billion, above the Wall Street consensus of $17.4 billion.

The average monthly bill rose 4.7 percent to $140.41.

The number of Comcast's high-speed Internet customers grew by 6.2 percent to 407,000. Revenue from the business was up about 11 percent to $3.04 billion.

But the company lost 8,000 video subscribers, compared with additions of 24,000 a year ago.

In a sign of how Comcast’s business is changing, the number of Internet subscribers -- more than 22 million -- surpassed the number of cable-TV subscribers for the first time after the quarter ended.

Voice subscriber additions slowed to 77,000 from 142,000 additions a year ago.

Business services revenue was up 21.4 percent to $1.11 billion.

Overall, at the company’s cable business, which accounts for the bulk of the top line, revenue grew 6.3 percent to $11.4 billion.

Sales at Comcast’s NBCUniversal group, which includes the NBC broadcast network, cable channels such as USA and MSNBC, and the Universal film studio, declined 4 percent to $6.6 billion, due partly to a decline in ratings.

The results followed recent news that the company had abandoned its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable after intense regulatory scrutiny. Costs related to the deal came to $99 million during the first quarter. That brings the total costs related to the deal to $336 million since the deal was announced in February 2014.

Comcast also said today that it plans to buy back an additional $2.5 billion in stock during 2015, bringing its total 2015 share-buyback plan to $6.75 billion.



Mon, 04 May 2015 09:47:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast walks away from Time Warner Cable merger ]]>

Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has ditched its US$45 billion friendly takeover for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWX) amid intense regulatory scrutiny from antitrust authorities.

Comcast was keen to see the deal completed because it would have reached millions of new subscribers in the US’s largest metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles.

The cancellation of the deal has raised questions about Comcast’s future direction but, perhaps, left Time Warner as an appetizing target. Charter Communications had pursued the company before Comcast and may resume its courtship to become the second largest cable company.

"Today, we move on….Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk away," said Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts.

The bid, first announced with grand pomp over a year ago, had surprised most observers, who wondered how the two US cable television market leaders would manage to obtain clearance for the deal from the antitrust authorities.

On Wednesday, Comcast and Time Warner Cable managers met members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice, whose approval was necessary for the takeover to go through.

"This is a victory not only for the Department of Justice, but also for content providers and streaming services which work to provide innovative products to consumers throughout America and the world, "said the US Attorney General, Eric Holder.

The authorities expressed concern about the impact the merger would have on consumers, said sources familiar with the discussion told Reuters, given that the combined company would have had unrivaled market share, controlling some 30% of all TV and 55% of all broadband subscribers in the United States.

FCC investigators were said to be considering recommending the merger case to be reviewed by an administrative law judge, the sources said. But such an approach was interpreted as de-facto obstacle block the merger.

The companies have presented the deal as a straightforward cable merger that doesn’t reduce consumer choice since cable operators don’t overlap geographically, but the increased market share in broadband Internet has been under more intense scrutiny, WSJ added, quoting people familiar with the reviews.

On Wall Street, the action Comcast was trading down 0.41% to 58.99 dollars and Time Warner was trading up 0.18% to US$85.07 this morning.

Companies that are trying to merge routinely agree to concessions to win government approval. Comcast did that back in 2011 before it acquired NBC Universal.

Time Warner Cable was a unit of Time Warner until 2009. The two companies are no longer related except by name.




Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:06:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast, Time Warner Cable slated to meet anti-trust regulators to save merger ]]> Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWX) are slated to sit down for the first time on Wednesday with Justice Department officials amid intense scrutiny of their proposed mega-merger and its impact on consumers, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Justice Department is weighing whether to block the $45 billion deal, which has the potential to remake the cable industry.

The parties haven’t met face-to-face to hash out possible concessions in the more than 14 months since the deal was announced.

Comcast is the country's largest provider of cable and broadband Internet, and Time Warner Cable is the second-largest.

Staffers at both the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission remain concerned a combined company would wield too much power in the broadband Internet market and give it unfair competitive leverage against TV channel owners and new market entrants that offer video programming online, WSJ reported, citing people with knowledge of the review.

Combining the nation’s two largest cable and Internet providers would create a company with control over roughly 30% of the pay-TV market and 57% of the market for broadband service, now defined by the FCC as 25 megabits-per-second speeds and above. The companies have presented the deal as a straightforward cable merger that doesn’t reduce consumer choice since cable operators don’t overlap geographically, but the increased market share in broadband Internet has been under more intense scrutiny, WSJ added, quoting people familiar with the reviews.

Shares of Comcast fluctuated and were last trading at $58.24, down 0.3 percent. Shares of Time Warner rose 0.7 percent to $83.95.

Companies that are trying to merge routinely agree to concessions to win government approval. Comcast did that back in 2011 before it acquired NBCUniversal.

Time Warner Cable was a unit of Time Warner until 2009. The two companies are no longer related except by name.


Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:42:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast shares surge on $16.7 bln NBCUniversal deal, Q4 results tops views ]]>  

Telecommunications giant Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) saw its shares jump Wednesday, after it announced it will acquire General Electric’s (NYSE:GE) 49-per-cent equity stake in the NBC Universal joint venture for about $16.7 billion. 

Shares moved up 6.34 per cent on the back of the news announced late Tuesday, trading at $41.44 as at about 10:15 a.m. EDT.

The deal will be funded with $11.4 billion of cash on hand, $4.0 billion of subsidiary senior unsecured notes to be issued to GE, $2.0 billion of borrowings under Comcast’s and/or its subsidiary bank credit facilities and $725 million of subsidiary preferred stock to be issued to GE, the company said.

The sale is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of this year.

“Our decision to acquire GE's ownership is driven by our sense of optimism for the future prospects of NBCUniversal and our desire to capture future value that we hope to create for our shareholders,” said chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts. 

“We believe the terms of the transaction are attractive and have planned for this event by taking a number of financial steps to prepare our balance sheet. We believe we are in a strong and unique position to continue to grow and build value in our combined company.”

Comcast said that NBCUniversal will also purchase from GE the properties at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and CNBC’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey for roughly $1.4 billion. 

In other news, the company late Tuesday posted fourth quarter results that topped analyst views as profits and revenue rose, and increased its yearly dividend by 20 per cent.

For the quarter that ended December 31, the company said net earnings rose to $1.51 billion or 56 cents per share, compared to $1.28 billion or 47 cents per share, a year earlier. 

Revenue rose 5.9 per cent to $15.9 billion, from $15 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share profit of 50 cents, on $15.43 billion in sales.

The broadcaster’s cable communications unit posted $10.1 billion in sales, up seven per cent on growth in high-speed internet, business services and video. 

Advertising revenue increased 19.4 per cent, reflecting higher political advertising in the fourth quarter, Comcast said. 

High-speed internet customers rose to 19.3 million, up from 18.1 million, a year-earlier. Voice customers totalled 9.9 million, up from 9.3 million.

Revenue at NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, increased 4.8 per cent to $6.01 billion in the fourth quarter, driven by strong results at the broadcast television unit.

Cable networks revenue edged up 0.6 per cent to $2.2 billion, reflecting an increase in distribution revenue that was negatively impacted by the NHL lockout, and a decrease in advertising revenue reflecting the impact of lower ratings, mostly offset by price increases. 

Revenue in the broadcast television division increased 7.9 per cent to $2.0 billion, driven by strong primetime ratings at the NBC broadcast network, as well as higher political advertising at the owned local stations, the company said. 

Its filmed entertainment segment revenue increased 9.0 per cent to $1.4 billion  

Comcast increased its dividend by 20 per cent to 78 cents per share on an annualized basis. A quarterly cash dividend of 19.5 cents a share is payable on April 24 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on April 3.

In addition, the company said that it plans to buy back $2.0 billion of its stock during 2013, subject to market conditions.


Wed, 13 Feb 2013 10:21:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Comcast Q3 earnings, revenue boosted by London Olympics ]]>  

Telecommunications giant Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Friday said that third-quarter profits and revenues rose, benefiting from the London Olympics and growth in its cable business.

Shares of the company rose 2.67 per cent on the news, trading at $37.32 as at about 9:50 a.m. EDT.

For the quarter that ended September 30, the company said net earnings rose to $2.1 billion, or 78 cents per share, compared to $908 million, or 33 cents per share, in the third quarter 2011. 

Excluding a 20 cent per share gain related to its share of SpectrumCo.’s sale of wireless spectrum licenses and a 12 cent per share gain on the sale of NBCUniversal’s interest in A&E Television Networks, earnings per share increased 39.4 per cent to 46 cents in the third quarter.

Revenue rose 15.4 per cent to $16.5 billion, from $14.3 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share profit of 46 cents, on $16.08 billion in sales for the quarter.

The broadcaster’s cable communications unit posted $9.97 billion in sales, up 6.9 per cent from $9.3 billion in revenue last year. 

The cable and high-speed internet broadcast company attributed the rise to an 8.8 per cent increase in high-speed internet, a rise of 33.6 per cent in its business services unit, an increase of 2.7 per cent in the video unit, and a 23.5-per-cent increase in its advertising unit. 

In the quarter, high-speed internet customers rose to 19 million, up from 17.8 million, a year-earlier. Voice customers totalled 9.7 million, up from 9.1 million.

Revenue at NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, increased 31.2 per cent to $6.8 billion in the third quarter, compared to $5.2 billion in the year-earlier period, primarily driven by 2012 London Olympics revenue of $1.2 billion in the broadcast television segment, the company said. 

Excluding the Olympics, NBCUniversal revenue increased 8.3 per cent.

Cable networks revenue increased 3.2 per cent to $2.2 billion, reflecting a 5.7-per-cent increase in distribution revenue and flat advertising revenue. 

Revenue in the broadcast television division jumped up 83.8 per cent to $2.8 billion, including $1.2 billion of revenue generated by the Olympics. Excluding the Olympics, Comcast said revenue increased 5.2 per cent.

Its filmed entertainment segment revenue increased 23.6 per cent to $1.4 billion due to higher theatrical revenue from the strong box office performance of Ted and The Bourne Legacy. 

Comcast shelled out $750 million to repurchase 22.9 million shares of its own stock. The company has about $4.25 billion remaining under its share buyback program.


Fri, 26 Oct 2012 09:51:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast Q2 earnings rise on higher revenue, Internet customers ]]> Telecommunications giant Comcast Corp.’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) second-quarter earnings beat analysts’ estimates, amid higher revenue and increased broadband customers. 

The cable and high-speed Internet broadcast company said earnings rose to $1.34 billion, or 50 cents per share, compared to $1.02 billion, or 37 cents per share, in second quarter 2011. Revenue rose to $15.2 billion, up 6.1 per cent from $14.3 billion.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected a per-share profit of 48 cents, on $15.2 billion in sales for the quarter ended June 30.

Shares rose 3.4 per cent climbing to $33.66 each on the Nasdaq on Wednesday morning.

The broadcaster’s cable communications unit posted $9.8 billion in sales, up six per cent from the $9.3 billion in revenue last year.

Comcast attributes the rise to an 8.9 per cent increase in high-speed Internet sales, a 34.2 per cent rise in business services sales and a 2.8 per cent in video revenue.

In the quarter, high-speed Internet customers rose to 18.7 million, up from 17.5 million, a year-earlier. Voice customers totalled 9.6 million, up from nine million.

Revenue at NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, slipped 0.8 per cent to $5.5 billion, due to the impact of a licensing contract signed a year-ago.

Cable networks revenue rose 3.6 per cent to $2.3 billion, thanks to a rise in distribution sales and a 4.1 per cent increase in advertising sales.

The broadcast television division slumped to $1.5 billion, down 9.1 per cent versus $1.7 billion seen a year-ago, due to lower revenue from a content licensing agreement.

Its filmed entertainment segment fell to $1.2 billion, down 1.8 per cent from $1.3 billion, due to lower theatrical and stage plays revenue.

Free cash flow rose 2.2 per cent to $1.55 billion from $1.52 billion.

Comcast shelled out $750 million to repurchase 25.8 million shares of its own stock. The company has about $5 billion remaining under its share buyback program.

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 10:08:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast denies plans to snap up BSkyB from News Corp. ]]> NBCUniversal's parent Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is denying press reports that it was mulling a bid for British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB)(LON:BSY), which is 39 percent owned by News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA).

A spokeswoman from Philadelphia-based Comcast commented: "This is complete rubbish, speculation and inaccurate."

BSkyB, Britain’s largest satellite broadcaster, could become available for purchase following News Corp's failed attempt to purchase the part of the company it disn't already own.

News Corp. abandoned the deal after its U.K. publishing unit hacked into the phones of politicians and celebrities, drawing criticism from British lawmakers.

The media giant does not want to be forced to sell its BSkyB stake if U.K. regulator Ofcom should deem the company unfit to hold its broadcast license, analysts said.

Mon, 11 Jun 2012 08:56:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast Q1 profit grows 30%, beats estimates ]]> Cable and Internet provider Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) reported Wednesday first-quarter earnings jumped 30 percent on the back of Super Bowl advertising and growth for its high-speed Internet services.

Earnings reached $1.22 billion, or 45 cents per share, on $14.8 billion in revenue for the three months ended March 31.

That compared with the $943 million, or 34 cents per share, on $12.12 billion in revenue in the same period a year-earlier.

On average, analysts polled by Bloomberg had expected Comcast to book earnings of 42 cents a share, on $14.4 billion in sales.

The company’s cable revenue unit posted sales of $9.6 billion from $9.1 billion, a growth of 5.7 percent, helped by a 10.3 percent rise in high-speed Internet sales and a 37 percent rise in business service sales, the company said in a release.

Comcast on Wednesday said it added 439,000 residential broadband subscribers during first quarter, a five percent increase. But new voice subscribers fell 37 percent from a year earlier to 164,000.

Revenue from NBCUniversal grew by 18 percent to $5.5 billion, reflecting strong growth in every unit including Super Bowl sales of $259 million.

Excluding the Super Bowl, NBC's revenue grew 17 percent, thanks to improved prime-time ratings and shows like “The Voice” and “Smash.”

Sales from the cable networks unit rose 5.8 percent to $2.1 billion, mainly due to a 5.9 percent increase in advertising revenue.

Its filmed entertainment division reported sales grew by 22.3 percent to $1.2 billion, helped by films like "Dr. Suess' The Lorax"
and "Safe House".

In the latest quarter, Comcast paid dividend totalling $304 million and bought 25.9 million of its own stock for $750 million. It had about $5.8 billion remaining under its repurchase authorization.

Shares were down by 88 cents, or 2.88 percent, spiralling down to $29.72 each in trade on the Nasdaq on Wednesday morning.

Wed, 02 May 2012 11:10:00 +0100
<![CDATA[News - Comcast posts 26% hike in Q4 profits, tops Street ]]> Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA; CMCSK) said Wednesday its fourth quarter profits increased 26 percent, largely on the strength of its internet and business services segments.

For the three months that ended December 31, the entertainment and telecommunications giant posted net income of $1.29 billion, or $0.47 per share, up 26.4 percent from $1.02 billion, or $0.36 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected just 41-cents per share in profits.

Revenues hiked 54.7 percent to $15.04 billion, from $9.72 billion in the same period last year.

CEO Brian L. Roberts said: "Last year was a very important year for our company. Cable continued to drive innovation, increase new product introductions and transform the customer experience, and we successfully integrated NBCUniversal.

"We also reported strong financial and operating results in both the fourth quarter and for the full year. Specifically, cable had another terrific quarter of improving customer metrics, demonstrating that our new XFINITY brand and our intensified focus on service and innovation are making a real difference.

"Our results at NBCUniversal underscore the strong performance of the cable networks and theme parks, and we continue to make progress enhancing the franchise values of its businesses."

Comcast closed its acquisitions of NBCUniversal and Universal Orlando on January 28, 2011 and July 1, 2011, respectively. On a pro forma basis, that is, assuming that Comcast had owned and operated the companies since January 1, 2010, revenues would have increased three percent to $15.04 billion for the quarter.

Comcast's cable communications business posted $9.47 billion in pro forma revenues, up 4.7 percent. The segment was boosted by 10.1 percent growth in revenues from its high-speed internet business, to $2.24 billion, and a 36.8 percent hike in revenues under its business services segment, to $498 million.

However, advertising revenues under the cable communications unit fell 9.3 percent to $546 million, reflecting lower political advertising in the quarter. Voice revenues increased 4.9 percent to $882 million, while video revenues increased 1.3 percent to $4.9 billion.

During the quarter, the monthly average total revenue per video user increased 7.1 percent to $141.24, reflecting a growing number of residential customers taking multiple products, Comcast said.

Combined video, high-speed internet and voice customers increased by 12.3 percent during the fourth quarter, totaling 49.8 million customers at year-end.

Pro forma revenues at NBCUniversal increased 0.8 percent during the fourth quarter, to $5.74 billion. Revenues from cable networks increased 5.3 percent to $2.21 billion, driven by a 10.4 percent rise in distribution revenues. Advertising revenues rose only two percent, largely due to four fewer days in the company's advertising calendar, and fewer NBA games due to the league's lock out, Comcast said.

NBCUniversal's broadcast television segment posted a 3.7 percent decline in revenues during the quarter to $1.84 billion, reflecting weak ratings at NBC broadcast networks, as well as lower political advertising and four fewer advertising days.

Filmed entertainment revenues fell 1.8 percent to $1.27 billion, as higher content licensing revenues were offset by lower home entertainment revenues.

The company's theme parks, however, posted a four percent rise in sales to $498 million, driven by higher per capita spending at the Orlando and Hollywood parks, Comcast said.

For the full year fiscal 2011, Comcast said total revenues rose 47.2 percent to $55.84 billion. Earnings increased 14.4 percent to $4.16 billion, or $1.50 per share.

"As we begin 2012, the strength of our businesses and free cash flow generation will allow us to continue to build value and consistently return capital to shareholders," Roberts said.

To underscore its optimism, Comcast announced a 44 percent increase to its dividend, to $0.65 per share on an annualized basis. Accordingly, the company's board of directors declared a $0.1625 per share quarterly cash dividend, payable on April 25.

Comcast also announced that its board of directors has authorized a new $6.5 billion share repurchase program. The company said it plans to buy back $3.0 billion during 2012.

On the Nasdaq Exchange, shares of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based company rose 6.5 percent in pre-market trading, to $29.02 as of 8:26 am EDT.

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 09:10:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House to sell Spectrum JV to Verizon in $3.6 bln deal ]]> Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), and privately-owned Bright House Networks agreed Friday to sell their Spectrum joint venture (JV) company to Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) for $3.6 billion.

Under the terms of the agreement, the cable companies will give up on their hopes of creating their own wireless network, giving Verizon 122 advanced wireless services (AWS) licenses, and as part of the deal, the cable companies will have the right to resell Verizon's wireless service, which will become the cable providers' exclusive partner once the Spectrum aspect of the agreement closes.

Comcast, which owns 63.6 percent of the Spectrum JV, will receive about $2.3 billion from the sale, while Time Warner, which owns 31.2 percent of the JV, will receive about $1.1 billion, and Bright House will receive about $189 million for its 5.3 percent share in the venture.

"Spectrum is the raw material on which wireless networks are built," said Verizon president and CEO, Dan Mead.

"And buying the AWS spectrum now solidifies our network leadership into the future, and will enable us to bring even better 4G LTE products and services to our customers."

Demand for wireless services and bandwidth is increasing rapidly. In selling off the Spectrum JV, the cable companies are ensuring consumer needs are met, they said.

Additionally, the cable companies and Verizon have agreed to partner in a joint venture to develop technologies that better integrate wireline and wireless products and services.

Comcast Cable president, Neil Smit, said: "These agreements, together with our Wi-Fi plans, enable us to execute a comprehensive, long-term wireless strategy and expand our focus on providing mobility to our Xfinity services.

"We're excited about this partnership with Verizon Wireless and the future innovations we will bring to customers."

On the Nasdaq, Comcast shares rose 4.25 percent to $23.53, as of 12:07 pm EDT. Meanwhile, Verizon shares slipped 0.05 percent to $37.75, and Time Warner Cable shares hiked 3.22 percent to $62.88.

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 13:56:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Comcast Q3 profits rise on growth at NBC cable business ]]> Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) posted five percent growth in its third quarter profits on Wednesday as its NBCUniversal business recovers with strong results from its cable networks segment.

For the three months ended September 30, the entertainment and media company posted net income of $908 million, or $0.33 per share, up five percent from $867 million, or $0.31 per share, a year ago. Adjusted for certain one-time items, including costs related to its purchase of a 51 percent interest in NBCUniversal earlier this year, profits rose slightly to $912 million, or $0.33 per share.

Revenues hiked little more than 51 percent to $14.34 billion, from $9.49 billion in the same period last year.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg Businessweek had expected earnings of $0.39 per share, on $14.3 billion in revenues.

Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts said: "I am pleased to report strong performance across key financial, operational and product areas. Cable had an outstanding quarter, led by continuing strength in high-speed Internet and business services.

"In addition, this marks the fourth consecutive quarter of improving customer metrics, including increased year-over-year high-speed Internet customer additions.

"NBCUniversal’s results underscore the strength of our core cable networks business, as well as terrific momentum at the theme parks. Overall, this quarter continued our momentum toward a successful integration."

Overall, NBCUniversal posted a 5 percent hike in revenues to $5.2 billion, largely on a 12 percent hike in revenues from cable networks, and a nine percent rise in theme park revenues.

Cable networks posted revenues of $2.1 billion during the quarter, driven by a ten percent rise in distribution revenues, a ten percent hike in advertising revenues, and a 37 percent increase from licensing sales.

Theme park revenues increased to $580 million, reflecting strong performances at the Hollywood and Orlando locations. Newer attractions like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, and King Kong in Hollywood helped drive the segment.

The broadcast television segment increased revenues by three percent to $1.51 billion, largely on higher licensing revenues, partially offset by lower ratings and less political advertising on its local stations. Filmed entertainment, however, posted $1.1 billion in revenues, down eight percent, on less theatrical revenues, partially offset by higher home entertainment sales, especially from the releases of films like Bridesmaids and Fast Five.

Comcast's cable communications business also posted a five percent rise in overall revenues, to $9.33 billion. High-speed internet and business services helped drive the segment, it said.

Revenues from the business services segment increased over 39 percent, to $464 million, more than offsetting a four percent decrease in advertising sales, down to $492 million.

The company added a total of 229,000 net new customers during the quarter, including 261,000 net new internet customers during the quarter, driving sales up ten percent to $2.21 billion. Net voice customer adds decreased to 133,000, from 228,000 a year ago, though revenues increased over six percent to $883 million.

Still, Comcast lost video customers, although at a slower rate than a year ago - net losses during the quarter were 165,000, compared to 275,000 lost customers a year ago. Video revenues increased slightly, to $4.89 billion.

Also during the quarter, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based company said it repurchased 27.5 million shares of its common stock, for total consideration of about $600 million. Comcast has about $491 million remaining under its current repurchase authorization, it said.

It also paid a total of $309 million in dividends to shareholders, during the quarter.

On the Nasdaq Exchange, Comcast saw its share price rise 2.74 percent, to $23.61 as of 9:51 am EDT.

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 10:36:00 +0000
<![CDATA[News - Level 3 Communications fights back in Comcast internet traffic fees dispute ]]> Level 3 Communications (NASDAQ: LVLT) has fired back in its attack against US cable company Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA), after Level 3 filed a complaint Monday regarding fees Comcast is charging for certain internet traffic like online movies.

Level 3 provides internet network services and recently struck a deal with Netflix to help the company stream its online movies and TV programs.

Though Level 3 did not file a formal complaint, the company did speak out against Comcast's new recurring charges to deliver "online movies and other content" to customers.

Comcast responded saying that Level 3 misportrayed the situation, and that Level 3 simply wants to boost its internet traffic for free.

Today, Level 3 has issued a retort, written by assistant chief legal officer of the company John Ryan, claiming that Comcast is "attempting to distract" from the real issue at hand: "The fundamental issue is whether Comcast, as the largest cable company in the country with absolute control over access to its cable TV and broadband access subscribers, has the right to unilaterally set a 'price' for that access that effectively discriminates against competitors of Comcast's cable and Xfinity content."

"Our interest is in preserving and protecting openness and innovation within the Internet, which is threatened if those who control access to subscribers can charge a toll set at their discretion for delivery of independent content and applications."

Level 3 concluded by asking Comcast reconsider its "untenable position". The fight has escalated to the point that the FCC has said it will look into the issue.

Level 3 was down 1% on Tuesday, trading at $0.99 as of 2:54pm EST, while Comcast fell 0.74% to $20.06.

Tue, 30 Nov 2010 19:56:00 +0000