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Comcast Reduces Stake In Arris

Comcast has trimmed its stake in Arris, the cable and telecom supplier that completed its $2.35 billion acquisition of Motorola Home from Google almost a year ago, according to an Arris proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday (April 9).

Part of that transaction was funded through the sale of 10.6 million shares of Arris to Comcast, which also happens to be Arris’s largest customer. Comcast held 7.7% of Arris when the Motorola Home deal was closed on April 17, 2013.   

According to the proxy filing, Comcast held 7.19 million shares of Arris, good for a 5.1% stake, as of March 17, 2014. Google, which also held 7.7% of Arris when the Motorola Home deal closed last year, still holds 10.63 million shares, or 7.5%.

Comcast and Arris declined to comment. A person close to the operator said Comcast  “has an excellent relationship with Arris” and continues to regard the supplier as a “strategic technology partner.” In the fourth quarter of 2013, Comcast represented 18.6% of Arris sales, followed by Verizon Communication (12.5%) and Time Warner Cable (6.9%).

The date of Comcast’s stake reduction was not known, but the MSO likely got a handsome return based on the performance of Arris’s stock over the past eleven months. Arris shares closed at $16.48 each on the day the Motorola Home deal was completed, and closed at $25.79 each on Friday (April 11).

According to the SEC filing, others with more than a 5% stake in Arris include BlackRock (11.66 million shares/8.2%); First Pacific Advisors (10.6 million shares/7.4%); Hotchkis and Wiley Capital Management (9.18 million shares/6.4%); and The Vanguard Group (7.1 million shares/5.0%).