Malone hints at possibility of future Comcast-WarnerMedia tie up

Tom Paine

Cable king John Malone said “there’s no question” that Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, NBCUniversal’s parent company, wanted to acquire WarnerMedia.

Speaking on Comcast NBCU’s CNBC, Malone made it clear that he has recently spoken with Roberts regarding the proposed AT&T / Warner Media / Discovery transaction.

“If the regulatory environment permitted, down the road, all kinds of relationships could be contemplated between this enterprise that we’re creating and Brian’s enterprise. I think there are many opportunities for this Discovery-[WarnerMedia] enterprise to work with NBCUniversal to develop successful businesses.”

Malone is the controlling shareholder in Discovey, a position he’s committed to unwinding as part of the proposed deal.

Malone also has recently agreed to sell his controlling Class B shares of Qurate Retail (owner of [West Chester-based] QVC and HSN) to longtime lieutenant Greg Maffei for $400 million.

These two moves together lead to speculation that the 80 year-old Malone may be beginning to liquidate his media holdings. In a statement on the AT&T / WarnerMedia / Discovery deal, Malone said ” I believe we are creating real value for shareholders and a legacy investment for my grandkids.”

For Comcast, the consensus among many is that its got to get bigger in the media business or get out.