By Corrie Driebusch and Lillian Rizzo 

Activist investor Trian Fund Management LP has taken a stake in Comcast Corp. in a bet that the cable giant's shares are undervalued.

Trian has accumulated about 20 million shares in Philadelphia-based Comcast, for a roughly $870 million stake or about 0.4% of the company, a person familiar with the matter said. Comcast's market value stood at just under $200 billion Monday afternoon.

Executives at the hedge fund, which was founded by the investor trio of Nelson Peltz, Ed Garden and Peter May, have recently begun conversations with Comcast management, the person said. It isn't clear what exactly Trian is focused on other than a belief that the company's shares are undervalued.

Trian often seeks to encourage change at companies it targets, such as a breakup or sale of underperforming divisions or moves to improve operational efficiency and better use capital. It often seeks board representation and tries to avoid public spats, unlike some of its more pugnacious rivals.

It is a big undertaking for Trian. The Roberts family retains a significant voting stake in Comcast and Brian Roberts, its chairman and chief executive, has been involved with the company since the age of 8. Comcast stock has performed relatively well and early this year hit an all-time high before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which briefly sent its stock down sharply. It has since recovered most of the loss.

Comcast is one of the biggest companies ever targeted by an activist. Trian is accustomed to hunting large prey, however, having targeted companies including Procter & Gamble Co., DuPont de Nemours Inc. and General Electric Co.

Write to Corrie Driebusch at corrie.driebusch@wsj.com and Lillian Rizzo at Lillian.Rizzo@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 21, 2020 16:04 ET (20:04 GMT)

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