Comcast founder, cable industry leader Ralph Roberts dies at 95
By Malathi Nayak and Anya George Tharakan
(Reuters) - Comcast Corp founder and prominent cable industry executive Ralph Roberts died on Thursday at the age of 95, the company said.
Roberts, who set up Comcast after he bought a small cable television operator in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1963, died of natural causes in Philadelphia, Comcast said in a statement.
From selling ads to golf clubs and men's accessories in his early years, Roberts ambitiously ventured into America's fledgling cable industry. He led Comcast from its humble beginnings to a $150 billion media conglomerate.
Roberts, who was chairman emeritus of Comcast's board, had spent more than five decades at the company.
"Ralph was a born entrepreneur, a visionary businessman, a philanthropist and a wonderful human being," the company said in a statement.
After about a decade of building out cable networks and signing up subscribers, Comcast went public on the Nasdaq under Roberts' helm in 1972.
A sharply-dressed businessman, who often donned tailored suits and bow ties, Roberts was a dogged deal maker. In 1986, he led the acquisition of a 26 percent stake in Group W Cable expanding its customer base to more than a million.
The purchase of AT&T Broadband, the cable service of telephone giant AT&T Inc, for $30 billion in 2001, catapulted Comcast into the No. 1 U.S. cable TV operator with more than 21 million subscribers. Continued...