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Roberts to Team Comcast: "We'd like to find ways to accelerate" Cable Channels' Growth

Posted by: Ron Grover on October 2, 2009

It’s become standard operating procedure for CEOs caught in the press headlights of a potential deal. They issue a memo to the troops that bucks them up, extols the virtues of the company’s assets and tells them “don’t listen to what they’re saying in the press.” Well, right on schedule, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has sent just that message to what the cable giant likes to call its Team Comcast.

And as every CEO before him has done, Roberts says don’t believe the press. Reports that Comcast (CMSCA) is buying NBC Universal from General Electric (GE), he writes, are “inaccurate.” Comcast said as much to the press when the deal rumor first surfaced.

But what Roberts does go on to say all but confirms that Comcast is on the prowl. His company’s content business, which includes cable channels like E! Entertainment, Style and sports channels, “are growing rapidly (but) we would like to find ways to accelerate that growth,” he writes. A deal for NBCU, with larger cable properties like Bravo and USA and a movie and TV studio, clearly fits that bill. “If the opportunity came up to add more cable content,” writes Roberts. “We would definitely want to take a look at that opportunity, but in a very disciplined way.”

Robert’s email is below:

It’s not surprising that there is speculation about possible acquisitions given Comcast’s strong financial position. This happens from time to time. We have always said that we will consider acquisitions and investments to find opportunities to grow in our businesses so that they are profitable, differentiated and have scale.

We have a terrific company that is growing in this economy and we have an exciting future ahead across all of our lines of business. As Steve and I have said, cable is right at the core of everything Comcast does. We continue to invest in our cable business – it is a key component of our DNA. Some of our other businesses like content, business services and interactive advertising are a smaller part of the company today, and while they are growing rapidly, we would like to find ways to accelerate that growth. If the opportunity came up to add more cable content, we would definitely want to take a look at that opportunity, but in a very disciplined way.

You’ve all worked hard to grow our business and achieve the solid financial position we are in. We’ve got the best team in the business working to reach our goals. So, while we know it is easy to become distracted by this kind of press activity, it is important that you continue the focus you’ve always had on making Comcast successful.

Thanks for all you do to make Comcast a great company.


Reader Comments

Jeff B.

October 5, 2009 9:53 AM

This deal will only hasten the death of NBC. Here's a joke looking for a punchline: What do you get when you cross a dinosaur media company (NBC) with a monopolistic cable company that has the world's worst reputation for customer service? I don't know, but it sure will make a nice failed-business case study for some B-school students 10 yrs from now.

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