WASHINGTON, D.C.--I was surprised to run into Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) co-founder and former vice chairman Julian Brodsky on Tuesday, who was among the team of executives that joined CEO Brian Roberts at a press conference at the MSO's booth here at The Cable Show.
While Brodsky retired in 2011 after more than 40 years at Comcast, he said he still advises Comcast Ventures, the MSO's venture capital fund that he used to run when it was known as Comcast Interactive Capital. The cable pioneer, who was a key player in the mergers and acquisitions that built Comcast into the nation's largest MSO, told me he sees more consolidation in the works.
"I think there is another wave of it, the most significant thing being Liberty [Media]'s investment in Charter (Nasdaq: CHTR), which I think is a significant event," said Brodsky, 79.
Brodsky cheered the return of Liberty (Nasdaq: LBTYA) chairman John Malone--whose former Tele-Communications Inc. systems are now controlled by Comcast--to the U.S. cable business. In March, Malone struck a $2.4 billion deal which gave Liberty a 27 percent stake in Charter and four seats on its board of directors.
Will Malone buy more U.S. cable systems? "I hope so. He brings so much to the table, and if nothing else, he's the most interesting guy in the business."
"Keep your eye on Charter," Brodsky said. He said other key players that could be involved in the next wave of consolidation include Rocco Commisso's Mediacom Communications, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and BCI Broadband, the new cable MSO formed earlier this year by former Bresnan Communications executives.
"Conventional wisdom would say Time Warner Cable would love to buy Cablevision, as would anybody," Brodsky added.--Steve