Comcast CEO Touts Benefits of Sky Acquisition

Brian Roberts
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Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts told the Comcast virtual annual shareholders meeting that "we bought Sky to try to grow it."

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts on Wednesday touted the benefits of his $39 billion takeover of European pay TV giant Sky, and talked about a possible expansion beyond the U.K. and western Europe.

"Our acquisition of Sky in October significantly expanded our global footprint, and our position as a leader in media and technology," Roberts told the U.S. cable powerhouse and NBCUniversal owner's virtual annual shareholders meeting.

The Comcast boss told investors the Sky deal enabled market leadership positions in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Italy as his company's global profile grows. "The key message is we have the scale and capabilities to compete with anyone in our markets, or potential new entrants," Roberts said.

Asked by one investor about Sky possibly expanding into central and eastern Europe, Roberts without being specific said the pay TV company was always looking to grow. "We're always looking at ways to have our products available to more consumers. So you can assume that we bought Sky to try to grow it, and how we execute upon that, time will tell," he answered.

Roberts also singled out for praise NBCUniversal for its focus on "big events and must-see entertainment, news and sports," including the broadcasts of the World Cup soccer tournament, the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl championship game.

And he pointed to MSNBC as "a real standout" after it reached record viewership for the full year and a lead over CNN. Roberts was also asked to offer a 24-month outlook for Comcast, which he answered in general terms and without giving formal investors guidance.

"The opportunities that arise from technical change present complexity and risk. But our company has shown that we are willing to take the steps and initiatives to position the company for the next 24 months and hopefully longer than that as we continue to grow and innovate and deliver the best products to our customers," he said.