Comcast Corp. stock soared
Wednesday after the company reported its first-quarter financial results, which
included digital-subscriber growth above analysts' expectations.
Comcast stock had been battered
in the past few weeks after disappointing results from AT&T Broadband, which
lost 179,000 subscribers in the first quarter, and which is set to merge with
Comcast by the end of the year.
But Comcast rose more than 11
percent, or $3.04 per share, to close at $29.79 Wednesday.
At the Banc of America Securities
LLC Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment conference in New York
Wednesday, Comcast president Brian Roberts admitted that he was disappointed in
AT&T Broadband's subscriber loss, but he added that AT&T Broadband
management is addressing the problem.
"AT&T Broadband has
significantly lower margins. We were disappointed that subscriber growth went
backwards," Roberts said at the conference. "Management of AT&T Broadband
has come in and is doing a fine job fleshing out some of the problems. But,
frankly, they're six people. When we bring in 250 [people] at Comcast who focus
on not 12 million subs, but 1 [million] to 2 million subs broken into small
geographies, we really do believe we can accelerate AT&T's results to look
more like Comcast's."
For the quarter, Comcast reported
cable pro forma revenue growth of 12 percent and cash-flow growth of 13.5
Companywide -- including its QVC
Inc. unit and its other programming interests -- revenue was up 12 percent and
cash flow up 18.3 percent.
Comcast added 204,000 digital
subscribers in the period, or 15,600 new customers per week. Data subscribers
rose by 93,000 customers. Basic-cable subscribers rose by 0.9 percent to 8.5
analysts had expected digital-subscriber growth to slow to about 12,000
additions per week in the first quarter.