CFO Offers Insight Into Time Warner Merger Failure

Mike Cavanaugh, the CFO of Comcast emphasizes that the billions of dollars the company would have spent acquiring Time Warner can be put to better use enriching the customer service experience.

Comcast spent millions of dollars and a year and a half convincing regulators to approve an acquisition of Time Warner Cable at an estimated $45 million. While most executives would still be stewing over the wasted effort and cash, Comcast chief financial officer Mike Cavanaugh has another perspective. “In some ways, it’s a shame that Time Warner Cable did not happen, and in some ways, it’s a blessing in disguise,” Cavanaugh told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Cavanaugh might not have as personal an attachment to the merger as some of his fellow executives, though. The CFO is fairly new to the job. Either way, the financial leader of Comcast emphasizes that the billions of dollars the company would have spent acquiring Time Warner can be put to better use enriching the customer service experience.

The Future for Comcast

In a recent press conference at the Comcast Center in Philadelphia, Cavanaugh hinted that its biggest enemy was complacency. “All businesses have to modify their game to be relevant to millennials,” he said. Indeed, millennials are rapidly turning away from traditional cable services in favor of streaming services like Hulu Plus, which recently added Showtime to its lineup. With HBO launching its new stand-alone streaming service, HBONOW, the pressure for cable services to remain competitive is high. This is a fact that Cavanaugh understands and is prepared to take full advantage of.

So what should Comcast do with this extra cash? Cavanaugh reiterates that the focus should be on improving current customer services, like faster Wi-Fi. But riding on the heels of the DirectTV acquisition by AT&T, adding wireless to the mix is not out of the question for Comcast.

Cavanaugh noted that “quad-play” service, or bundling cable, home phone, wireless phone, and internet, is popular in Europe. It’s something, he says, that they will definitely consider. When asked about the company sticking its foot in the wireless market, Cavanaugh coyly remarked that he knew “enough to be dangerous.”

Mike Cavanaugh took the helm as CFO at Comcast in May. He left his post as co-CEO of corporate and investment banking at JP Morgan Chase for the job.

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