You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts: Sky Is a Great Opportunity but Not a ‘Necessity’

Comcast wasn’t strategically compelled to go forward with its $31 billion bid for the U.K.’s Sky — but the satellite operator has shown impressive results and is a unique opportunity for international growth, Comcast chairman/CEO Brian Roberts said.

“Looking at the future, I don’t think we have to do this,” Roberts said about the Sky bid, speaking on the cable and media giant’s first-quarter 2018 earnings call Wednesday. “Sky is a unique asset… and is aligned with our strategy of integrating programming and distribution.”

On Wednesday, Comcast announced a formal, binding $31 billion cash offer for Sky, as it looks to outflank Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox for the U.K. satellite operator.

Comcast positions Sky as complementary to its U.S. core business, although execs said the scale of the two companies would let a combined Comcast/Sky invest more in original and acquired programming. In addition, there may be opportunities to deliver NBC programming on Sky platforms, as well as Sky content distributed on Comcast, execs said.

Sky has 23 million retail customers in the U.K., Italy, and Germany. “Sky will be our platform for growth across Europe,” Roberts said in announcing the formal bid.

With the higher Comcast offer, Sky said Wednesday that it would terminate its previous agreement with 21st Century Fox; Fox said it was committed to the Sky deal and is “currently considering its options.” Comcast’s proposal is now pending regulatory approval.

Roberts compared the Sky bid to Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal. “We didn’t have to do that,” the chief exec said, but NBCU has proven to be a valuable engine for Comcast’s growth since the deal closed in 2011.

According to Comcast, it expects to achieve $500 million in synergies through a deal for Sky. Of that, $300 million is on the expense side and $200 million is in anticipated revenue upside, CFO Mike Cavanagh said on the earnings call. Comcast expects “only limited impact on headcount” with the Sky purchase; i.e., it’s not expecting major layoffs.

In seeking to gain U.K. approval for the Sky deal, Comcast made several pledges to preserve the independence of Sky’s news operations. That includes commitments to: maintain Sky News’ annual spending for 10 years (at levels not less than what Sky spent in 2017); keep Sky’s U.K. headquarters in Osterley for at least five years; and not acquire majority interest in U.K. newspapers for five years.

For Q1, Comcast beat Wall Street estimates with overall revenue up 10% to $22.8 billion and net income of $3.1 billion, an increase of 21.2%, thanks to ad gains from the Winter Olympic Games and Super Bowl LII.

More Biz

  • Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in

    Paramount Inks Deal for Theme Park in South Korea

    Paramount Pictures has announced a deal to install a studio-branded theme park in an entertainment resort being developed in South Korea. The agreement was struck between Paramount and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which owns the Inspire Integrated Entertainment Resort in the South Korean city of Incheon. Mohegan has invested KRW 2.8 trillion ($2.4 billion) in [...]

  • Davan Maharaj Mel Gibson

    L.A. Times Publisher's Lawyer Was Accused of Extorting Mel Gibson

    The attorney who negotiated a $2.5 million exit package for L.A. Times publisher Davan Maharaj was previously accused of using secret recordings to extort actor Mel Gibson. Surreptitious recordings also figure in the Maharaj case. NPR reported on Wednesday that Maharaj taped Tronc chairman Michael Ferro. According to the report, Ferro was heard on the [...]

  • 'Blurred Lines' Suit Ends With $5

    'Blurred Lines' Suit Ends With $5 Million Judgement Against Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams

    After five years, the legal battle over the copyright of the Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” has ended, with Marvin Gaye’s family being awarded a final judgment of nearly $5 million against the song’s primary writers, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, according to CNN and other reports. The pair were accused of copyright infringement [...]

  • WME Veteran Ari Greenburg Promoted to

    WME Veteran Ari Greenburg Promoted to President of Talent Agency

    WME veteran Ari Greenburg, one of the original Endeavor staffers who helped build the talent agency that became an industry powerhouse, has been promoted to president. Greenburg will oversee all daily operations across WME and its offices in Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville, London and Sydney. The promotion recognizes the role that Greenburg has played [...]

  • Alison Wenham Steps Down as CEO

    Alison Wenham Steps Down as CEO of WIN

    After 12 years at the helm of the Worldwide Independent Network, a global trade organization for the independent music industry, Alison Wenham is stepping down as Chief Executive, it was announced today. Prior to joining WIN full time in 2016 Alison was CEO of The Association of Independent Music (AIM), which she started in 1999. [...]

  • Leslie Moonves

    Leslie Moonves Quietly Exits AFI and Paley Center Boards

    Leslie Moonves, the ousted CEO of CBS Corp. who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women, is no longer serving on the boards of trustees of the American Film Institute and the Paley Center for Media. For now, Moonves retains his seat on the board of gaming company ZeniMax Media. The appointments on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content