Comcast profit tops estimates as internet customers grow

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(Reuters) – Comcast Corp on Thursday said it shed more cable TV subscribers than the previous year, but beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit as it gained more high-speed internet customers.

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Comcast, which dropped its pursuit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's entertainment assets last week after a bidding war with Walt Disney Co, is still competing against Fox to acquire European pay-TV company Sky PLC to expand internationally and find more growth with media content.

Revenue from high-speed internet customers rose 9.3 percent to $4.26 billion during the second quarter as Comcast added 260,000 internet subscribers, beating an average estimate of 200,000 net adds from analysts at MoffettNathanson and Macquarie.

The biggest U.S. cable provider also shed 140,000 video customers during the second quarter, up from 34,000 customers lost in the prior-year quarter, as TV viewers move to a growing number of cheaper streaming options, such as AT&T Inc's newly-launched WatchTV at $15.

Net income attributable to Comcast rose 27.6 percent to $3.2 billion, or 69 cents per share, from $2.5 billion, or 52 cents per share, a year earlier.

Earnings per share excluding adjustments were 65 cents per share, up from 52 cents per share last year, beating analyst estimates of 60 cents per share.

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Comcast's revenue rose 2.1 percent from the previous year to $21.7 billion, but fell short of analyst estimates of $21.86 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Total capital expenditures were $2.25 billion during the quarter, down 3.3 percent from last year.

Comcast added 204,000 Xfinity Mobile customers in the quarter ended June 30. The wireless service launched last year and is available only to Comcast internet subscribers.

Revenue from the company's NBCUniversal segment was flat compared to the previous year, due to revenue decline for its movie studios, as hit movie "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" opened late in the quarter.

(Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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