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Comcast is often voted as one of America’s most hated companies, and that’s probably not changing anytime soon. However, it looks like another country might soon be subjected to the whims of the cable giant. New reports indicate that Comcast is looking to expand into the UK. The company could do this through a potential deal to purchase broadcaster ITV, which owns popular properties, including Downton Abbey and others.
So far, neither Comcast nor ITV is opening their mouth about the potential for a sale to occur, but several outlets are reporting that talks have happened between the various executives related to both companies, along with Comcast’s other branch, NBC Universal. Shares went up after reports of the talks were leaked, and the Daily Mail reports that if a sale goes through, it could cost Comcast a huge chunk of change. The British broadcaster wants £11 billion, which in US dollars is more than $16 billion for a sale.
ITV is a bit of a hot property, but it wasn’t always that way. In recent years, chief executive Adam Crozier and chairman Archie Norman have launched additional channels and increased the overall stock share prices for the company. Revenue was also way up by the end of 2014. Also last year, ITV sold off a stake to Liberty Global, but the new reports indicate that Liberty Global has no intention to try and take a stab at a purchase, even though the company already owns 6.4%.
Obviously, sales like these do not always go through. Talks can simply mean that the two companies came together to see if there was some common footing, but the fact that a number is being bandied about likely means talks are at least somewhat serious and focused. Whether or not any of this is in the public's best interest, however, is unclear. Last year in the US, Comcast attempted to merge with Time Warner, but it eventually withdrew, so even if Comcast's UK goals are serious, there will probably be a lot more talking before anything is agreed upon.
Most of the negativity associated with Comcast has to do with its much maligned cable business. Thus far, there haven't been a ton of fan issues with how the giant has run NBC or its large network of smaller channels. Maybe Comcast would simply focus on programming if it were to move to the UK. In which case, that's good news for the UK, because presumably Comcast wouldn’t be squeezing you for more money in your bills every month moving forward. But once a company gains a foothold in new territory, it’s often hard to shake ‘em. So, good luck with that.