Comcast Deal Benefits "Flowing in Both Directions," Sky CEO Says

Courtesy of Getty Images
Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch

Jeremy Darroch spoke at the Media & Telecoms 2019 & Beyond conference in London.

Comcast only completed its $39 billion acquisition of Sky late last year, but deal benefits are already coming to both the buyer and the acquired, Jeremy Darroch, the CEO of the European pay TV giant, said Thursday in London.

"Just a few months after coming together, we are already starting to see benefits flowing in both directions," he told the Media & Telecoms 2019 & Beyond conference, hosted by Deloitte and Enders Analysis. "So we will be bringing Comcast’s voice interface to [high-end pay TV service] Sky Q later this year, and our broadband customers in Italy will benefit from Comcast’s XFi product. When NBCUniversal [launches] an advertising VOD service in the U.S. next year, it will be Sky’s OTT technology platform, developed here down the road in West London, that it will be based upon."

Added the Sky boss: "We are making good use of each other’s content onscreen, are working to serve our global advertisers better and all the while becoming a more capable and a more efficient business." For example, "we are already starting to transfer Sky colleagues to the U.S. and Comcast colleagues to Europe," he highlighted.

Concluded Darroch: "Personally, I find the combination very compelling. I think the next few years at Sky will see us unlock many, many more opportunities here, as well as contributing significantly to the overall Comcast family."

Comcast has given Darroch and his Sky team the autonomy to continue key strategic initiatives, such as increased investment in original series, while also focusing on sharing of expertise and technology and collaboration in such areas as news, sports and more.

Comcast's $39 billion takeover of Sky was one of the biggest media industry deals of 2018. After outbidding Walt Disney and sealing the deal late in the year, the focus for the U.S. cable powerhouse has been on reaping the benefits. Darroch and his top executives agreed to stay in place, with Comcast vowing to support their pursuit of accelerated growth.

Darroch reiterated this focus on Thursday, saying: "Being part of the Comcast family will only enhance and underwrite our ability to do more, move faster and to better serve our customers and audiences."

Sky also cast a shadow over a conference session with Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine, who was asked if he expects the pay TV giant to expand into France or if CanalPlus could be an acquisition target. "I would not comment on plans of expansion for Sky,” the Vivendi boss said, adding that "we have a strong relationship with Sky," including on the production side.

And he signaled that there was upside in the value the stock market assigns to CanalPlus given the high price tag Comcast was willing to pay. "CanalPlus ... has much better value if we apply the [price to earnings] multiple of Sky," he said.