Comcast "Extremely Confident" in Current Business Despite Possible Deals, Cable Unit Boss Says

Courtesy of Comcast
Comcast Cable president-CEO Dave Watson

"We have a very good track record in M&A," Dave Watson also tells an investor conference amid the company's recent Sky bid and a rumored future offer for parts of 21st Century Fox.

Comcast's bid for European pay TV giant Sky and its rumored interest in a potential bid for parts of 21st Century Fox aren't signs of a lack of confidence in its core cable business, Comcast Cable president-CEO Dave Watson signaled on Monday.

Speaking at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York in a session that was webcast, he said, “We have not lost any confidence in our core business. Cable is a terrific business.”

Watson said that any deals Comcast is going after are driven by opportunistic thinking. "We have a very good track record in M&A," the exec said without specifically discussing the $31 billion Sky bid or a potential offer for Fox, which would challenge the Walt Disney Co.'s $52.4 billion Fox deal. "We are always disciplined. we always explore opportunities. But by no means does the fact that we look at an opportunity mean that we have lost any confidence in our core business." 

Watson cited such growth opportunities as wireless and enterprise services, concluding, "We are extremely confident in our existing businesses and believe we have a bright future."

The executive said Comcast was focused on the notion that cable is "a growth business ... even with some structural change," such as increased competition and streaming video platforms. He highlighted continued growth in revenue, operating cash flow and total customer relationships as key signs of momentum in the cable business.

Asked about the importance of the pay TV business to Comcast, Watson said, "Video is still a very important category" and the company "will continue to compete" in it.

Earlier in the day at the conference, Charter Communications chairman-CEO Tom Rutledge said that "video isn’t that material as a stand-alone business to us," adding, “I don’t look at video as a [key separate] business and haven’t in a long time.” Instead, he focuses on reaching a subscriber whose services include video, broadband and others, said the exec.