Activist Investor Trian Now Has $900 Million Comcast Stake: Report

Activist investor fund Trian Fund Management has acquired about 20 million shares in Comcast, for a stake of about 0.4% worth nearly $900 million, according to a Wall Street Journal source.

Trian executives have begun talking with Comcast’s management, although it’s not yet clear what the hedge fund is focused on, “beyond a belief that Comcast shares are undervalued,” per the report.

“We have recently begun what we believe are constructive discussions with Comcast’s management team and look forward to continuing those discussions,” a Trian spokesperson confirmed to CNBC on Monday.

Founded by Nelson Peltz, Ed Garden and Peter May, Trian manages about $8.8 billion in investments and has previously targeted companies including Procter & Gamble, General Electric and DuPont de Nemours, WSJ notes.

On Monday, a Trian securities filing disclosed that the fund owned about 7.2 million Comcast shares as of June 30, but its stake reportedly has since increased to about 20 million.

Comcast, parent of NBCUniversal, the Xfinity broadband and pay-TV business, and U.K.-based satellite and entertainment company Sky, has a market value of about $200 billion.

NBCU has been hard-hit by the pandemic and is currently undergoing an organizational restructuring focused around the new Peacock streamer, and some have asserted that Comcast overpaid for Sky two years ago.

But Comcast’s broadband business is seeing robust growth, and its shares, which hit a new high prior to the pandemic, have recovered from an immediate post-pandemic drop.

Efforts to make major changes at Comcast could also encounter resistance from the family of Comcast Chairman/CEO Brian Roberts, which holds “a significant stake” in the company, per WSJ.

Still, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett is quoted as observing: “I can’t imagine a shareholder that would disagree that [Comcast] would be valued more highly if it were separated into pieces.”

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