Brian Roberts’ One That Got Away [Puck]

Brian Roberts’ One That Got Away [Puck]

(lower right) Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast

 

By Dylan Byers

May 20, 2022 | For the last four years, What’s Brian Roberts going to buy has been aperennial parlor game question among the Sun Valley set. It all started in2018, when the Comcast-NBCUniversal chief tried and failed to intercept Bob Iger‘s takeover of the Fox entertainment assets and settled for Sky, instead. The question came up again last year, when David Zaslav masterfully executed his stealth merger with WarnerMedia. The former Time Warner media assets, after all, would have been a boon to NBCUniversal, helping them compete more aggressively with Netflix, Disney, et al. And the question came up again this year after Microsoft C.E.O. Satya Nadella agreed to pay $69 billion for Activision Blizzard, an asset that would have provided NBCU with a massive infusion of new I.P. and immediate entry into the highly lucrative gaming space.

In the wake of the Microsoft-Activision deal, Roberts approached Electronic Arts C.E.O. Andrew Wilson with a proposal to spin off NBCUniversal and merge the media and gaming giants, four sources with knowledge of the proposal told me. The general terms of the proposal, which lawyers and bankers for both sides negotiated for several weeks, would have seen the Roberts family take majority control of the combined entity.

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