Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) is an American telecommunications and media conglomerate and one of the world's largest entertainment companies. Incorporated in 1969, Comcast was made available to the public via IPO in 1972. After decades of growth and a consistent expansion of Comcast's offerings, the company became the largest U.S. cable provider in 2002 when it purchased AT&T Broadband.
Comcast is currently led by Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO. Roberts is the son of Comcast founder Ralph J. Roberts. Other top executives include Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal and Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast, and Michael J. Cavanagh, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
In June 2018, Comcast announced a $65 billion cash offer for certain Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) assets, $13 billion higher than Walt Disney's (DIS) offer of $52 billion. On July 19, 2018, Comcast dropped out of the bidding war for Twenty-First Century Fox, setting the stage for Disney to acquire critical pieces of the media empire. Then in September 2018, the company emerged as the decisive victor over Disney for control of British-pay television company, Sky PLC, valued at $39 billion at the time of the acquisition.
Comcast Revenue Growth
Comcast released its Q3 2018 earnings on October 25, 2018. The media giant reported earnings of $22.14 billion, compared to $20.98 billion over the same quarter in 2017. In its 2018 annual report, Comcast reported net revenue of $94.5 billion for the year, up from $85.0 billion the previous year.
Below are some of Comcast's most significant subsidiaries and acquisitions.
1. AT&T Broadband
AT&T Broadband was formed in 1999 under the name AT&T Digital Cable. When Comcast purchased AT&T Broadband for $44.5 billion in 2002, AT&T was the largest provider of cable television services. This purchase was instrumental in Comcast's development into the single largest U.S. cable services provider. As part of the acquisition, Comcast absorbed AT&T's customer base and integrated AT&T systems into its own line of products and services.
2. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC
Comcast Cable Communications, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Comcast Corporation, operates a hybrid coaxial and fiber-optic data network through which it offers cable television, internet, voice communication and home automation services primarily under the Xfinity brand. The company has two subsidiaries, Comcast Business and Comcast Wholesale, both of which offer specialized networking services targeted at business customers. Comcast Cable's number of customers increased by 3.4% Year-Over-Year in Q3 2018, including 288,000 net additions in the third quarter. Comcast's Cable Communications segment reported net revenue of $55.1 billion for 2018. This increase of 3.9% over the 2017 figure can be attributed to increases in advertising, business and high-speed internet revenue.
3. NBCUniversal Media, LLC
NBCUniversal Media, LLC, is Comcast Corporation's media, content, and entertainment arm. The company owns and operates numerous media properties, including broadcast networks, cable networks, movie studios, and theme parks. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Comcast Corporation. NBCUniversal was formed in 2004 upon the merger of NBC an Vivendi Universal Entertainment. In 2011, Comcast acquired a 51% majority stake in NBCUniversal, and in 2013, Comcast paid roughly $16.7 billion to acquire the remaining 49% from General Electric (GE).
NBCUniversal Media operates the broadcast networks NBC and Telemundo, both of which air in all 50 U.S. states. The company owns local affiliate NBC stations, including 38 NBC and Telemundo local television stations. NBCUniversal also owns and operates a variety of cable news, sports and entertainment networks, including MSNBC, CNBC, the Golf Channel, E! and USA Network. NBCUniversal Media has a 30% stake in the online video streaming service Hulu.
NBCUniversal Media's movie studio, Universal Studios, Inc., is one of the country's largest studios by revenue. The company produces, markets and distributes its own films and acquires distribution rights to films produced by other companies. Universal Pictures has several film production subsidiaries, including Focus Features and Illumination Entertainment. NBCUniversal Media's theme park business, Universal Parks and Resorts, operates theme parks in Orlando, Florida, and Hollywood, California.
NBCUniversal reported revenues for 2018 of $35.8 billion, an increase of 8.9% over the previous year.
4. Comcast Spectacor
Comcast Spectacor is a live sports and entertainment company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the same city where its parent company is headquartered. Founded in 1974, Spectacor owns the Philadelphia Flyers, an NHL team, along with the Philadelphia Fusion, a competitive video game team. Comcast Spectacor's subsidiary, Spectra, offers comprehensive venue management services to arenas, convention centers, performing arts venues, and other entertainment facilities across the U.S. and in other countries around the world. In 2016, Comcast purchased outstanding non-controlling interests in Spectacor for an undisclosed sum.
Sky is a British telecommunications and media conglomerate that was initially formed in 1990 upon the merger of British Satellite Broadcasting and Sky Television. Today, Sky offers a host of different products and services, including a popular direct-to-customer video service as well as high-speed internet, voice, and wireless phone service throughout parts of Europe. In the fall of 2018, following an ongoing back-and-forth between Comcast and Fox, Comcast successfully won a blind auction and began to buy up shares. Comcast completed its acquisition of Sky in November of 2018 for a grand total of about $39.4 billion. Between October 9, 2018 and December 31, 2018, Sky's total revenue was $4.6 billion.
While Sky was Comcast's most recent high-profile acquisition, the conglomerate has also made smaller purchases as well. In March of 2019, for instance, Comcast purchased BluVector, an AI cybersecurity company.
Throughout its history, Comcast has selectively acquired companies which act either as competition or as possible avenues for expansion of its product lines. Now that Comcast is one of the very largest cable service providers in the world, it may shift its acquisition strategy toward other areas; the recent venture into AI cybersecurity with the purchase of BluVector is an example of this branching out. (For related reading, see "Comcast's Top Subsidiaries")