Tags: comcast | cable | media | fox

Comcast's Slow Sales Underscore Appetite for Global Megadeals

Comcast's Slow Sales Underscore Appetite for Global Megadeals
(Dreamstime)

Thursday, 26 July 2018 06:56 AM

Comcast Corp. made clear why it has pursued multibillion-dollar mergers on two continents: While second-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates, revenue came up a bit short.

Profit rose to 65 cents a share, the Philadelphia-based company said Thursday, topping analysts’ estimate of 60 cents. While sales grew 2.1 percent to $21.7 billion, they missed Wall Street’s expectations of $21.8 billion.

The results are a reminder of why Comcast is interested in buying the European pay-TV company Sky Plc and pursued 21st Century Fox Inc. before backing away in the face of Walt Disney’s higher offer. Sky has 22.5 million customers in five European countries -- a continent where cord-cutting is not as widespread as in the U.S., while Fox’s studios offered Comcast a chance to greatly expand its NBCUniversal division.

The No. 1 U.S. cable provider added 260,000 broadband subscribers in the period -- its best second quarter in a decade. That surpassed the 175,000 new internet customers it added a year earlier and topped analysts’ expectations.

Internet service is helping Comcast overcome the loss of cable-TV customers, many of whom are cutting the cord for cheaper online alternatives. The company has been offering faster internet speeds and stronger Wi-Fi connections to keep its broadband customer base expanding. Comcast lost of 140,000 video subscribers, the fifth straight quarter it has shed TV customers.

Comcast currently has the upper hand in the fight to buy Sky, with an offer of $34 billion that’s higher than a bid by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox. Last week, Comcast dropped its pursuit of Fox’s entertainment assets, ceding a vast swath of Murdoch’s empire to Disney.

While competition from online TV services has threatened Comcast’s cable TV business, it has also helped the company’s cable networks like USA and Bravo. Those networks have gone from losing 2 percent of subscribers collectively to about 1 percent because they are included in new online TV services like DirecTV Now.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal reported $8.3 billion in sales, roughly the same as a year earlier. Its film division faced a tough comparison with last year when “Despicable Me 3” and another “Fast and Furious” film were in theaters.

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Comcast Corp. made clear why it has pursued multibillion-dollar mergers on two continents: While second-quarter profit beat analysts' estimates, revenue came up a bit short.
comcast, cable, media, fox
356
2018-56-26
Thursday, 26 July 2018 06:56 AM
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