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Comcast Corp. Posts 11% Sales Growth

By Anders Bylund – Apr 25, 2018 at 2:41PM

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The cable and media giant published solid first-quarter results, powered by two enormous sporting events, and also doubled down on its $31 billion takeover bid for British broadcaster Sky.

Media powerhouse Comcast (CMCSA -3.62%) reported first-quarter results early Wednesday morning. Sales rose 11% year over year, boosted by big sporting events and solid sales of internet services.

Here's a deeper look at Comcast's first quarter of fiscal 2018.

Comcast's first-quarter results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q1 2018

Q1 2017

Year-Over-Year Change

Revenue

$22.8 billion

$20.6 billion

11%

Net income attributable to Comcast

$3.12 billion

$2.57 billion

21%

GAAP earnings per share (diluted)

$0.66

$0.53

25%

Data source: Comcast.

What happened with Comcast this quarter?

In the cable communications division, Comcast saw high-speed internet services driving its first-quarter sales 8% higher year over year. Business services revenue increased by 12%. On the other hand, voice and video subscribers continued to sign off. At the end of the quarter, Comcast sported 26.2 million internet customers and 22.3 million cable TV subscribers.

At the NBCUniversal segment, coverage of the 2018 Olympics and Super Bowl events led to a 21% top-line revenue boost for cable networks and a 57% surge in broadcast TV revenue. Backing out the Olympics, cable sales would have increased by 7% while broadcast growth stopped at 4%. Theme parks revenue rose 15% above the year-ago quarter while filmed entertainment suffered a 16% revenue drop. The Universal studio simply released fewer movies in this year's first quarter, and none of the new titles were runaway hits.

Hand pointing a TV remote at the screen, which is showing a sporting event of some sort.

Image source: Getty Images.

What management had to say

In a prepared statement, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts celebrated his company's strong coverage of large sporting events.

"The Olympics were an incredible event that showcased our capabilities and collaboration throughout the company," Roberts said. "NBCUniversal's amazing presentation was the most comprehensive in Winter Games history with over 2,400 hours of coverage across broadcast, cable networks, and digital, and Cable's best-in-class technology delivered an unparalleled viewing experience, resulting in 26% higher ratings among our X1 customers than the national average."

Looking ahead

Alongside its quarterly report, Comcast also launched a formal $31 billion all-cash offer for British broadcaster Sky. That's a 16% premium over the best bid 21st Century Fox (FOX) (FOXA) has posted for Sky so far, redoubling the bidding war between American media titans.

Comcast first presented this bid in February, but the new version is a formal document that also includes several nods to expected regulatory challenges. Among other details, Comcast promises to keep Sky's headquarters in London for at least five years and will keep Sky News operating with a reasonable budget and editorial independence for a decade or more.

To complicate matters even further, Fox is also the target of a pending buyout offer from Walt Disney (DIS -3.20%), and the fate of Sky is likely to affect how Disney moves forward with that even-larger business combination.

Meanwhile, Comcast's media empire keeps chugging along in the same direction as always. The company relies on growing numbers of internet subscribers and a strong NBCUniversal package. The cable TV business looks more like an aging legacy operation with every passing year, though Comcast has managed to slow down the subscriber losses significantly. Sky would give the company an instant ticket to international growth opportunities, if Comcast can overcome Disney's challenge for the same asset bundle.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool also recommends Comcast. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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