Comcast CFO 'optimistic' about NBC Uni deal

Angelakis: Deal is attractive even without revenue synergies

NEW YORK -- Comcast Corp. CFO Michael Angelakis on Wednesday said he is "very optimistic" that the planned acquisition of a majority stake in NBC Universal will be successful for the cable giant.

Speaking at a Barclays Capital investor conference, he reiterated that Comcast structured the NBC Uni deal to be attractive even without revenue synergies.

Any such synergies will be pure upside, he said.

While he wouldn't put a figure on the size of the possible synergies, he said Comcast sees the opportunity for "a lot of singles and doubles" that should add up rather than just a single home run opportunity.

He cited "very meaningful" advertising opportunities, cross-platform advertising and "meaningful" sports opportunities as key areas for synergies.

While deals combing content and distribution assets in the industry have a mixed track record, Angelakis highlighted that Comcast already has a presence in both and feels they are "very complimentary."

Angelakis also highlighted that the Comcast team is focused on the execution of the deal. "We have a history of executing pretty well on transactions," he said. "I'm very optimistic that this will be successful for us."

He also told the conference that Comcast executives have been spending "an awful lot of time" in New York and L.A. to prepare for the integration.

The Comcast CFO also once again expressed hope to close the transaction by the end of the year.

Later at the conference, DirecTV CEO Mike White said that the satellite TV giant won't look for major content acquisitions, arguing that such a deal wouldn't add much to the company's service.

However, he reiterated that DirecTV could look at deals for sports content as it has done in the past.

What White and Angelakis on Wednesday agreed on was that rising programming costs will continue to be a challenge for distribution companies.

Angelakis highlighted a 9% program cost increase at Comcast in 2009 and said this continues to pose challenges.

"I don't see a silver bullet for the problem," White said. And while he said DirecTV can navigate the challenge, he also made a plea to content providers, arguing that regulators could jump in if program costs keep rising and get passed on to consumers. "Don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg," he warned.
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