Brian Roberts Is Now King of the World
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Comcast
The $45.2 billion deal made public Wednesday will make Roberts the dominant player in the pay-TV market. If government regulators approve the transaction, Comcast will merge with Time Warner Cable
For Roberts, the deal that combines the two largest U.S. cable-TV providers is yet another step toward the unlikely ascendancy of the Philadelphia-based Comcast into one of the country's most influential media and entertainment companies. That Roberts outmaneuvered or simply outmuscled John Malone, the billionaire behind Charter Communications
"Brian Roberts' father should be very proud today," Leo Hindery, a private equity media investor and former CEO of Tele-Communications Inc., which merged with AT&T
Comcast started small as American Cable Systems, which Brian's father Ralph Roberts helped form in 1963 before changing its name six years later to combine the words "communication" and broadcast." While its focus was largely in the mid-Atlantic, the father-son combo audaciously acquired AT&T Broadband in 2001, catapulting Comcast into the lead among cable-TV providers.
Not content as pay-TV operators, the Roberts' made a hostile $66 billion bid in 2004 to acquire Disney
"They've been opportunistic but they've also been capable of unexpected moves such as this one," said SNL Kagan Senior Analyst Robin Flynn in a New York phone interview. "Comcast hasn't surprised investors in a negative sense -- they've really done what they told investors they would do."
In acquiring AT&T Broadband and Adelphia Communications in 2006, the Roberts' took two under-performing operations and improved their cash flow, Flynn said. If this latest deal is approved. Adelphia's holdings will be reunited after having been split between Comcast and Time Warner Cable when their founder John J. Rigas and his son Timothy, the company's onetime chief financial officer, were found guilty of conspiring to loot the cable television company of millions of dollars.