* Highest subscriber adds in internet business in 6 yrs
* Cable communications business rev up 5.4 pct
* NBC Universal revenue misses, but profit boosts
* Shares rise as much as 2.6 pct
(Adds conference call comment, analyst comment; updates shares)
By Soham Chatterjee
July 22 Comcast Corp's quarterly
profit beat estimates as its high-speed Internet business added
the most number of customers in six years and profitability
improved at NBC Universal.
The largest U.S. cable operator's shares rose as much as 2.6
percent on Tuesday.
Comcast added 203,000 net high-speed Internet customers in
the second quarter ended June 30, higher than the 161,000
additions analysts expected, according to market research firm
A reasonable estimate for the timing of a shareholder vote
on Comcast's Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC) deal would be
in the fall, Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said.
Comcast is seeking regulatory approval for its $45.2 billion
bid for TWC, which will help it pick up customers in New York
and Los Angeles and extend its X1 cable TV-cum-Internet service
to those cities.
The company has also been building up its WiFi network,
aiming to have 8 million hot spots in 19 of the 30 largest U.S.
cities this year. TWC has 34,000 hot spots.
The TWC bid has sparked off consolidation efforts in the
media and telecoms industry, as demand grows for broadband
Internet and streaming video and music content.
Telecom company AT&T Inc, which hardly produces
programs, said it would buy satellite TV company DirecTV
for $48.5 billion.
SoftBank Corp's arguments for buying T-Mobile US
Inc now hinge on creating a scaled counterpoint to
Comcast, while Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's bid for
Time Warner Inc is about matching Comcast's leverage,
MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said.
"The DOJ and/or FCC will be under tremendous pressure to
block at least one of the mega-deals, lest they be viewed as
being asleep at the switch."
Comcast's cable business, which also houses the Internet
business, lost 144,000 net video subscribers in the quarter -
more than the 123,000 expected.
However, strong Internet business and services sales growth
helped revenue grow 5.4 percent to $11.03 billion.
Revenue at NBC Universal, the media and entertainment
company Comcast bought last year, inched up 0.3 percent to $6.02
But operating cash flow jumped 20 percent due to broadcast
television and filmed entertainment, analysts at JPMorgan,
Jefferies and Brean Capital said.
Net income attributable to Comcast rose 15 percent to $1.99
billion, or 76 cents per share. Excluding items, it earned 75
cents per share, higher than the average analysts' estimate of
72 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 3.5 percent to $16.84 billion - below an
estimated $16.95 billion.
Comcast shares were up 1.8 percent at $54.80 in afternoon
trading on the Nasdaq. It gained 3.6 percent this year through
(Additional reporting by Liana Baker; Editing by Savio D'Souza
and Joyjeet Das)