ShopNBC, Meet Your New Biggest Shareholder: Comcast

Post its acquisition of NBC Universal, it looks like Comcast is going to wind up as the largest shareholder of ShopNBC.

This may or may not help the home shopping network plug the “one gaping hole” in its distribution: Comcast, which is the nation’s largest cable operator.

To get that tasty tidbit, we took the time to listen to ShopNBC’s third-quarter conference call Thursday, even though we nodded off at one point, dropped our princess phone and had to call to get reconnected to the replay (actually, we nodded off twice). We’re glad we hung in there.

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart went mum when an analyst asked why the network had decided not to rebrand itself — as it previously planned — and instead renewed its licensing deal with NBCU to use its current name. ShopNBC will issue additional shares next May valued at $4 million to NBCU as part of the licensing deal.

Then another analyst noted that NBCU now owns 6.4 million shares of ShopNBC, or just under 19 percent of the company, and that the additional shares will put the merged Comcast-NBCU at more than 20 percent of the network, making it the biggest shareholder.

It’s a flash to the past for Comcast, which has a history in the home shopping business. It used to own QVC before selling it to John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp.

During the call, it was Stewart who said that Comcast homes were ShopNBC’s “gaping hole” in distribution. The home shopping network isn’t distributed in about 10 million of Comcast’s roughly 23 million homes.

“We generally use overbuilders to cover that distribution,” Stewart said.

But don’t take Comcast’s new ownership in ShopNBC as a guarantee that your carriage will be boosted, Keith.

About 25 percent of ShopNBC’s carriage deals expire at the end of this year, but the network’s pact with Comcast is not part of that 25 percent, according to Stewart.

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One Response to “ShopNBC, Meet Your New Biggest Shareholder: Comcast”

  1. stefF Says:

    wouldnt miss them a minute!

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