Comcast makes its pitch to NBC staffers
Just hours after unveiling its deal to take over General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, the top brass of Comcast introduced themselves to their new employees at a company-wide town hall meeting held in the studio where Jimmy Fallon hosts his late-night show.
Speaking to staffers were Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and COO Steve Burke along with General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker. Comcast founder Ralph Roberts also made an appearance and charmed the crowd with jokes about being glad to be upright and vertical at the age of 89 for this deal. He reminisced about founding Comcast in 1963 in Tupelo, Mississippi with six employees. Brian Roberts introduced his father as the "love of his life."
The meeting was fairly light in tone, said one attendee, with Comcast making clear that despite their size they view themselves still as a family run company.
Asked why this deal was being done now, General Electric's Immelt talked about frequently watching Brian Williams on NBC News and hearing about how much stronger the international marketplace was getting and figuring this was a good time to do a deal to focus GE resources elsewhere. Williams then got a hold of a microphone and quipped: "So this is my fault." That brought the house down and Zucker thanked "Tom Brokaw" for his question.
Asked their thoughts about Universal Studios, Brian Roberts and Burke said the new team there seemed good. Roberts added that he wasn't an expert in the movie industry yet and Burke concurred that "We know what we don’t know.”
-- Joe Flint