While NBC (NYSE: GE) Universal’s 15 percent drop in operating profit and flat revenues in Q3 don’t sound hopeful, company president and CEO Jeff Zucker was able to point out that things were actually a little better this time compared to last year. In an official note to NBCU staffers, Zucker noted that a one-time gain from the change in stake in A&E Networks caused a blip in Q309. But whether that will mean anything to Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), which is preparing to takeover the entertainment company as soon as it gets approval from Capitol Hill, is an open question.
On an operating basis, Zucker claims that NBCU’s profit was up 32 percent over Q309. “Given that the economy, although improving, is still far from robust, these are excellent results driven by superior execution throughout our operations,” he said in his note, which serves to provide more detail than current parent General Electric, which reported its complete Q3 earnings this morning.
Zucker cited cable as a continued source of strength and noted that local media was up an “amazing” 87 percent. Film In addition, film profits grew 57 percent thanks to the family-friend animated offering Despicable Me and theme parks had “the best quarter in its history, with op profit up 59 percent.”
In closing, he said the Comcast deal was still expected to be completed by the end of the year, though he didn’t reiterate that he would be leaving NBCU after that happens. But that’s probably one of the reasons he sounded a gentle note of caution, telling employees to carefully review their benefits plans.