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So Comcast Isn't Buying Roku? CFO Mike Cavanagh Throws Cold Water on Cable Company's Rumored M&A Plans

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh
(Image credit: Comcast)

To think, less than 90 days ago, we were reading breathless reports in the Wall Street Journal about how Comcast was looking to catch up fast in the global streaming business through a major deal. A potential merger with ViacomCBS was mentioned, as was the possible acquisition of Roku. 

Also read: Comcast Mulling Big Roku and ViacomCBS Buys? Read The Room, Brian, There’s a Growing Antitrust Fervor

On Tuesday, Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh poured cold water all over those rumors. 

"On the media side, obviously there's a lot going on in the space around streaming. We've talked about it repeatedly, and we're going to play our own hand with the collection of assets we have," Cavanagh said during the Bank of America Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference. 

"We have the ability to produce excellent sports and news programming, whether it be the Olympics or Sunday Night Football, which is the best program television," Cavanagh added. "Those are assets that when combined with our footprint in English language with Sky, and the technology assets we have in cable, give us a path of our own on the streaming side."

Cavanagh also mentioned Comcast's 30% ownership stake in Hulu, "which is growing in value, as well." 

The CFO, however, didn't specifically mention the Biden Administration's current anti-trust sentiment, most notably expressed by recently appointed FTC chief Lina Kahn, which has undoubtedly curtailed any M&A ambitions Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and his team might have had at the beginning of the summer. 

Cavanagh cited shorted throws, such as Comcast's collaboration with ViacomCBS to launch an joint-venture SVOD service, dubbed SkyShowtime, in 20 territories in Europe outside the cable operator's Sky footprint. He also mentioned Comcast's purchase of Masergy, a maker of software-defined network technology. 

"The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size," Cavanagh said. "That said, we are open to smaller acquisitions that are concentrated on our existing business."

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.