Comcast sales rise but earnings slip

Second-quarter revenue climbs 6 percent for the cable provider, but earnings drop almost 9 percent as a result of costs related to its planned purchase of NBC Universal.

Though Comcast showed improvement in both sales and subscribers, costs related to its pending buyout of NBC Universal took a bite out of earnings for the second quarter.

On Wednesday, the cable company reported a net profit of $884 million for the quarter ended June 30, an 8.6 percent drop from the $967 million earned in the year-ago quarter. Comcast attributed the decline to the $22 million in operating expenses and the $37 million in financing costs it incurred over the NBC Universal deal, resulting in $59 million in total transaction costs for the quarter.

But sales rose 6 percent to $9.52 billion from $8.98 billion a year ago, thanks to continued improvement in cable. Revenue in Comcast's cable business grew 5.1 percent to $8.9 billion compared with $8.5 billion in last year's second quarter. Though the number of video customers continued to fall, subscribers and sales for the company's high-speed Internet and voice services grew. As of June 30, Comcast had captured 47.8 million video, Internet, and voice customers, a gain of 3.4 percent from the previous year.

"We delivered healthy operating and financial results in the second quarter, reflecting overall customer growth, double-digit increases in high-speed Internet and voice revenue, an improving advertising market, and continued momentum in Business Services," Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.

Comcast is awaiting regulatory approval to proceed with its takeover of NBC Universal and hopes to finalize the acquisition before the end of the year. But the deal has aroused criticism and concern among consumer advocacy groups and some politicians that the merger of two media giants may hinder competition and result in higher prices for consumers.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.


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