Comcast shareholders: It may be your lucky day….
Comcast Corp. is planning to increase its share buyback program by more than 80 percent if investors approve its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc., boosting shareholder returns.
Comcast will add $2.5 billion to the current plan for $3 billion in 2014 buybacks if shareholders vote for the deal, Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said in an interview. A planned sale of assets to complete the deal may produce cash for even more repurchases, he said.
Comcast’s shares rose as much as 2.1 percent to $50.39 after Bloomberg News reported the buyback proposal. The shares gained 1.1 percent to $49.88 at 9:51 a.m. in New York.
Other Comcastic headlines today:
• A Vision Beyond Cable for Comcast After Merger: Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, was stung four years ago when Reed Hastings, chief executive of the then-fledgling Netflix, dismissed Comcast with a rhetorical question: “Why would we want to do a deal with a regional cable company?”If Mr. Roberts has his way, Comcast will soon be neither regional nor cable. With its aggressive push into broadband Internet and its bold acquisition of NBC Universal, Comcast already is no longer just a cable company. If its proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable is approved by regulators, it won’t be regional, either. The deceptively mild-mannered Mr. Roberts doesn’t plan to stop there. Comcast is building a new tower, designed by the star architect Norman Foster, next to its Philadelphia headquarters that will house roughly 3,000 software engineers. He sees the new Comcast as a global technology company and its major competitors the media companies of the future: Google, Amazon, Facebook and even Apple, with which Comcast has been engaging in tentative negotiations. (New York Times)
• Time Warner Cable rejects Charter’s call to drop Comcast merger: Time Warner Cable Inc said on Friday it was committed to a deal reached with larger cable operator Comcast Corp in response to calls by Charter Communications that shareholders reject the $45 billion merger. Charter, which was rebuffed in its bid for Time Warner Cable, said in a statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the planned merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast posed a high degree of regulatory risk and warned that approval could drag on until the first quarter of 2015. (Reuters)
• Comcast’s David Cohen: Merger With Time Warner Cable ‘Not a Very Scary Story’: Comcast exec VP David L. Cohen defended Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, saying that it is “a lot less scary, a lot less large and a lot less complicated than some people would like to make it.” “When you think about it, in the video space, this is not a horizontal deal,” he said in an interview forC-SPAN’s “The Communicators” series, airing on Saturday. “We don’t compete with Time Warner Cable anywhere. There isn’t a consumer in America who has a choice between buying Comcast products and Time Warner Cable products.” “National share and broadband, I am not sure what that matters. The issue is local share,” he said. “In no local market will there be any less choice in broadband after the transaction than before the transaction.” (Variety)
• How Comcast Uses Low-Income Families To Look Good For Regulators: Given how expensive a utility broadband can be, it’s not surprising that workers hanging onto the lowest rung of the economic latter have trouble buying into it. But as digital toolsbecome more and more prevalent in the classroom, kids who aren’t well-versed in them are at a distinct disadvantage for catching up to their classmates. So with Internet Essentials, Comcast really is trying to fill in service for a segment of the population that generally goes underserved. 300,000 families are using the service, according to Comcast’s most recent progress report, and that’s 300,000 families who weren’t connected before. That’s the good news. Now here’s the rest. (Consumerist)
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