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Comcast: Is the collapse over?

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Created 12/10/2007 - 7:48am

from: Blogging Stocks [1]

Comcast: Is the collapse over?

Posted Dec 7th 2007 11:02AM by Douglas McIntyre

For several years, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) was considered one of the most successful companies in America. It used its cable franchise to build a huge broadband, VOD, and VoIP cash machine. The so-called "triple play" of voice, TV, and broadband could not be matched by telecom competitors, so Comcast took hundreds of thousands of phone customers away from them each quarter.

From mid-2003 to early 2007, Comcast shares rose close to 100%. During the last three months, they are down 27%.

It finally occurred to Wall Street that competition from satellite TV and the new fiber-to-the-home products from telecom companies like Verizon (NYSE:VZ) were eating into Comcast's customer base. The company recently announced that its growth and cash flow would be less than expected. Customer growth was slowing and the firm had to put more money into infrastructure so that it could improve offerings for products like HDTV.

An influential cable analyst, Benjamin Swinburne of Morgan Stanley, says the slide in Comcast shares is over. According to Barron's the analyst "notes that the stock's multiples have been compressed to historic lows." He also thinks EPS and free cash flow could grow as much as 20% a year, if Comcast can keep adding voice and HDTV customers.

The logic for Comcast making a comeback may be a little thin. Verizon's FiOS is taking customers from Comcast and it is only in a small fraction of the 18 million homes that will eventually have access to the service.That means that the head-to-head competition for the cable company will actually increase. And satellite TV companies continue to ramp up their programming and HDTV offering.

The worst is probably not over for Comcast.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at

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