NBCU ‘well set’ for post-mega-merger era

Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation

Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation

The CEO of Comcast has said NBCUniversal’s current performance means the content business is well prepared for any landscape changes, including the potential Fox-Time Warner merger.

Brian Roberts told investors NBCU’s performance “strategically and financial positions us well in the content business”, and that “we certainly don’t think we need to bulk up in content”.

This was in response to questions regarding mega-mergers such rival DirecTV tying up with telco AT&T and  21st Century Fox’s attempted US$80 billion (€60 billion) takeover of rival US monolith Time Warner, the latter of which has been dominating industry chatter for the past week.

Comcast itself is the subject of a game-changing takeover deal, with its move to buy Time Warner Cable currently going through the regulatory phase.

Comcast’s US$30 billion to buy NBCU in 2011 was a significant moment for US media consolidation. Having originally acquired a 51% stake, Comcast now owns 100% of NBCU shares after buying out General Electric’s remaining stake in March last year.

Roberts’ comments came during an investors’ call that followed Comcast’s second quarter results.

These showed growth in NBCU’s cable and broadcast networks segments, though overall revenues were flat thanks to underperformance in the firm’s film division.

Cable networks, which include USA Network and E!, took US$2.48 billion for the quarter, representing 2.6% growth year-on-year. The NBC broadcast business was up nearly 5% and took US$1.82 billion in revenues, and is up more than 10% in the overall year-to-date.

Roberts noted these were the best Q2 video and high-speed internet results in six years, and added NBCU had experienced “another excellent quarter with double-digit operating cash flow growth driven by solid results in each segment and a first place finish for NBC for the 2013/2014 broadcast television season.”

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