Brian Roberts, the 31-year-old president of Comcast, is moving the No. 3 cable-TV company even further into the cellular phone business. Roberts on May 7 agreed to buy Metromedia's cellular phone operations in Philadelphia. The $1.1 billion cash and stock deal would triple Comcast's potential cellular market, giving it access to a population of 7.3 million people.
The deal is a big one for Roberts, who 15 months ago took over day-to-day control of the company from his father, Comcast Chairman Ralph Roberts. With purchases of cable-TV systems slowing industrywide, the younger Roberts wants to broaden the company's stake in other businesses. Metromedia chief John Kluge initially will retain a 35% interest in the Philly system, though Roberts expects to own it all after five years.