Comcast, NBCU Form $750M Fund

SAN FRANCISCO, May 26 (Reuters) – Comcast Corp’s venture-capital arm has completed its merger with NBCUniversal’s Peacock Fund to form a new $750 million fund, underscoring the importance media companies place on finding up-and-coming technologies to drive their core businesses.

Comcast Interactive Media President Amy Banse will head the combined entity, Comcast Ventures, which will focus on digital media, e-commerce and entertainment. The fund’s portfolio represents $500 million from Comcast and $250 million from Peacock.

At Comcast Interactive, Banse oversaw the acquisitions of Fandango, a movie-ticket reservation company, and Daily Candy, an email-newsletter service. The Peacock Fund, launched in 2007, has invested in companies like Rubicon Project, an advertising-technology firm, and medical website Healthline.

Venture-stage investments by established entertainment companies are increasingly common. Steamboat Ventures, Walt Disney Co’s venture-capital affiliate, has raised $575 million across four funds since its start in 2000.

The planned combination of the two funds was announced last year. Comcast acquired control of NBCUniversal in January.

(By Sarah McBride; editing by Gerald E. McCormick)