Giant cabler Comcast has hired a new chief financial officer, Michael Angelakis, from Providence Equity Partners in a rare example of big media poaching from private equity.
Usually, it has been the other way around, as in the case of former Viacom and Time Warner CFO Richard Bressler, who moved to Thomas H. Lee early this year, or former Time Inc. editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine, who headed to the Carlyle Group. Comcast’s hire shows just how intertwined the worlds of showbiz and private equity are becoming.
Angelakis, a managing director at Providence, was the Rhode Island-based firm’s pointman on the MGM deal when the studio was acquired in 2005 by a group that included Providence Equity and Comcast. He’s on MGM’s board.
He’s also a director of Bresnan Communications and Northland Cable Networks and sits on the executive committee of the YES Network.
Aside from MGM, Providence owns chunks of Warner Music; exhib Kerasote Theaters; newspaper publisher Freedom Communications (parent of the Orange County Register); ProSiebenSat 1 and Kabel Deutschland in Germany; and Dutch cabler Casema. It usually partners with one or more other private equity firms.
A group including Providence recently bid successfully for Univision and lost out on Clear Channel. Providence is also said to have put in an offer for Tribune.
The firm says it has made investments in more than 100 companies — not all in media — in more than 20 countries and currently manages more than $9 billion.
“Providence Equity’s track record in media investing is best in class, and Mike has played an integral role in that success for the past seven years,” said Comcast chairman-CEO Brian Roberts in a statement Wednesday.
For his part, Angelakis will be front and center in a hot industry as cable’s rollout of so-called triple play service — video, Internet and telephone service — continues to wow investors and give the biz an edge over satellite and telecom rivals.
“Comcast’s business has incredible momentum,” Angelakis said in a statement.
Prior to joining Providence, Angelakis was CEO of State Cable TV and Aurora Telecommunications. Before that, he was a VP at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., where he oversaw one of the bank’s media and communications portfolios.
Comcast said its current co-chief financial officers, Lawrence Smith and John Alchin, had told the company at the end of last year that they were planning to step down as they approached retirement age. Smith will leave in the first quarter next year, with Angelakis coming on as co-CFO. Alchin will ankle at the end of 2007.