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Comcast Still Expect Year-End Close For NBC Deal
[Editor's Note: IndyCar hopes that if this deal goes through Comcast will put the NBC name on Versus and make it into a direct competitor to ESPN.  Short of that IndyCar will be mired in obscurity on Versus, a channel very few people watch.] Comcast, which today reported an 8.2% drop in third-quarter profit, said it continues to expect to close its takeover of NBC Universal by the end of the year. The FCC earlier this month asked Comcast and NBC for additional documents and details about their businesses as Washington regulators pore over the deal valued at roughly $13.75 billion in cash and assets.

Here is what Brian Roberts said on a conference call about the NBC Universal deal, according to a real-time transcript from Thomson Reuters:

“On NBC Universal, the regulatory reviews are continuing and we believe they are on track to enable us to close by the end of this year. The integration of NBC Universal is a huge task and I am delighted that Steve Burke will become the new CEO of NBC Universal upon closing. Over the past 11 months, Steve has been spending a lot of time planning so we can hit the ground running when the deal closes. I believe we are in a strong position to deliver a great entertainment experience to consumers and to really drive new value creation for our shareholders.”

Burke, the Comcast operating chief, was formally tapped last month as CEO of NBC Universal when Comcast takes over a controlling interest in the media company.

Overall, Comcast posted its third quarter profit drop as basic cable-TV subscribers continue to drop off. The NBC deal also led to about $21 million of operating expenses in the third quarter plus $45 million of financing and other costs, Comcast said. Comcast shares are down about 1.1% in pre-market trading.

“We think Comcast’s results make a better case for the bulls than the bears,” said Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett. He focused on Comcast’s 6.5% gain in Internet customers, which Moffett called the “new core business,” and its gains in average revenue per user rather than the continued losses in subscribers for basic TV service.

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