April 25, 2018 / 11:12 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Comcast tops Wall St forecasts for first quarter

(Adds stock movement, details on Sky bid)

By Sheila Dang

April 25 (Reuters) - Comcast Corp topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Wednesday as the communications company cut expenses and added high-speed internet customers, offsetting a drop in cable TV subscriptions.

The biggest U.S. cable provider said in its results that it added 379,000 customers for the internet service overall in the first quarter, while its main TV business was helped by NBCUniversal’s broadcast of the Olympics and the Super Bowl.

Separately, Comcast formalized a 22 billion pound ($31 billion) bid for U.K.- based pay-TV group Sky PLC, challenging a lower but already-agreed takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox.

Shares of the Philadelphia-based company were down 1 pct at $33 in premarket trade.

Comcast revenue rose 10.7 percent to $22.79 billion, just ahead of an analyst consensus of $22.74 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total capital expenditures were $1.97 billion during the quarter, down 5 percent from last year.

On an adjusted basis, earnings per share were 62 cents per share, beating analyst estimates of 59 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters data. It was not immediately clear if the figures were fully comparable.

Comcast lost 96,000 video subscribers in the quarter ended March 31, compared with an addition of 42,000 customers last year. Analysts from MoffettNathanson, UBS and Macquarie had expected losses of about 75,000 video customers.

Overall it added 273,000 customers as the high-speed internet additions beat estimates of about 365,000. Average earnings per customer relationship ticked up 0.9 percent to $152.83. ($1 = 0.7160 pounds) (Reporting by Sheila Dang in New York, additional reporting by Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Henderson and Lisa Shumaker)

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