Comcast on Friday reported that it owns a 9.3% stake worth more than $300 million in FuboTV, which operates a sports-focused virtual MVPD and is getting into the sports betting business.
A number of programmers--including 21st Century Fox and ViacomCBS--acquired stakes of FuboTV as part of deals allowing FuboTV to carry their networks. Disney, which bought Fox, owned nearly 5% of Fubo when Fubo made its initial public offering last year.
Another programmer that received FuboTV stock, AMC Networks, reported earlier this week that it no longer owned any FuboTV shares. AMC Networks declined to comment.
Fubo said it does not comment on shareholder transactions.
In its filing, Comcast said it owns nearly 7 million FuboTV shares through a number of entities, including Comcast Bidco Holdings Limted, Sky Limited, and Sky Ventures Limited.
Comcast has been increasing its presence in streaming. It bought the Xumo ad-supported streaming service, its NBCUniversal unit launched Peacock last year and it has been looking for ways to push its Flex broadband platform.
Comcast also owns a 33% stake in Hulu, which runs one of the biggest vMVPDs. It has agreed to sell that stake to majority owner Disney by 2024.
Fubo shares went on a wild ride the last few months, soaring from less than $9 a share in October to $62 a share on Dec. 22. FuboTV stock than plunged to $24.24 a share on Jan 5. Fubo shares were trading at about 44 a share Friday morning, up more than 2%.
On Dec. 28, analyst Rich Greenfield of LightShed Partners, urged investors to sell “money losing” FuboTV in a research posting.
Greenfield noted that the vMVPD business was a tough one and that if investors were interested in sports betting, FuboTV was no FanDuel or DraftKing.
“Fubo is simply just another virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) facing the same obstacles and financial challenges as every other vMVPD,” he said.
Greenfield also noted that the media companies that took stock as part of their carriage agreements would be free to start selling those shares after Dec. 30, 2020.
"We believe all of these companies, (Disney/Comcast/Discovery/Viacom/AMC) are highly likely to start selling shortly after the expiration of the coming lock-up on 12/30/2020," Greenfield said.
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.