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Comcast sees loss, but revs surge 20%

Shares surg 10.5% to $31.15

Comcast swung to a loss in the latest quarter, but revenue surged nearly 20% to $2.67 billion as the cabler added systems and subscribers from a year ago.

Losses of $89 million compared with a $1 billion profit the year before, when the figure was swelled by cable system swaps and other items.

Comcast shares surged 10.5% to $31.15 Wednesday as the company reaffirmed its full-year financial guidance and said it is arranging $12.8 billion in financing for its planned merger with AT&T Broadband.

The $45 billion deal (not including the assumption of $25 billion in debt) is currently being scrutinized by regulators. AT&T has been busy upgrading its lagging cable systems but still reported recently that it has lost subscribers.

Comcast prexy Brian Roberts said during a conference call that he was disappointed in the AT&T figures but was still committed to the merger, which would create the nation’s biggest cable company, with 21 million subs.

Execs at Comcast — which owns QVC and a majority stake in E! and is said to be constantly on the prowl to expand its content assets — said regional markets were helping to boost advertising revenue.

Company continues to add digital cable subscribers and plans to start aggressively marketing video-on-demand services in the second half of the year.

Philadelphia cabler expects to boost prices by 5%-6% this year.