Rank: 49 (Previous rank: 66)
CEO: Brian L. Roberts
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The Philadelphia-based media giant closed its merger with NBC Universal in early 2011, picking up a 51% stake in the company (General Electric holds the other 49%). The deal, which was valued at $30 billion, made Comcast an even bigger force to be reckoned with than it was before (no small feat), giving the company a very strong foothold in both distribution and content segments of the entertainment industry. The deal's closing, along with the decreased pace of cable TV cord-cutting, helped boost Comcast's overall earnings for 2011.
Comcast didn't just call it a day with NBC-U, though. In December, the company joined forces with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to sell off $3.6 billion worth of wireless spectrum to Verizon and enter a joint marketing agreement where each company would tout the other's services to their existing customers. The deal prompted several critics to warn that the agreement, if approved by the FCC, would severely damage competition in the industry.