Many of Comcast Ventures’ best performing investments through the years have been strategic in nature, including CTI Towers, which Melody Investment Advisors acquired earlier this month, said the people. It has become increasingly difficult to compete for targets as more funds, such as SoftBank‘s Vision Fund, General Atlantic and Insight Venture Partners, raise tens of billions of dollars for startups. The last two years have both been record setting in terms of venture dollars invested in U.S. companies, according to The National Venture Capital Association.Refocusing Comcast Ventures on companies that support broadband distribution and streaming video could help Comcast stay ahead of trends while being more disciplined on investments the company understands best.Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC.WATCH: Venture capitalist Bob Davis weighs in on Big Tech regulation and the future of VC Amy Banse, the head of funds for Comcast Ventures, announced her retirement in September. Dave Zilberman, a 15-year Comcast Ventures veteran, said this week he was leaving for Norwest Venture Partners .When Banse announced her departure, Comcast said CFO Michael Cavanaugh would take over leadership of Comcast Ventures. In the past two months, Cavanaugh and former Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis, who now runs the private investment firm Atairos with capital from Comcast, reviewed the fund’s strategy and decided it’s a better fit within Schwartz’s business development unit, one of the people said.Schwartz was one of the founding partners of Comcast Ventures more than 20 years ago. He will decide if Comcast is better served acquiring companies or making seed, venture or later-stage investments. Comcast will continue to support the existing Comcast Ventures portfolio.- Advertisement – Comcast Ventures, the corporate venture capital firm, is folding into Comcast‘s business development division and shifting its strategy to focus only on strategic investments.Partners were informed of the change this week, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions were private. While Comcast Ventures will continue to operate under Comcast chief business development officer Sam Schwartz, it will no longer invest in a broad array of companies, instead focusing only on startups that can support Comcast initiatives. That change, combined with the fund’s decreased independence from Comcast, will likely lead to a number of partner defections, the people said.“Comcast Ventures has been a valuable innovation pipeline, providing insight into adjacent industries and investment opportunities” a spokesperson told CNBC. “We are aligning our approach to venture investing more closely with our business units and repositioning Comcast Ventures under the strategic business development team at Comcast Cable. Our business development teams across the company continue to invest in new technology and businesses, which we believe will yield more strategic opportunities and benefits for Comcast and the companies in which we invest.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO of ComcastDavid A. Grogan | CNBC – Advertisement –
By Pritha SarkarLONDON, England (Reuters) – Just how badly things were going for Serena Williams in yesterday’s Wimbledon final against Simona Halep was summed up by a booming plea that came from the crowd: “Wake up, Serena!”Williams heard the message loud and clear but unfortunately for the American it was one of those days when nothing could save her from the 6-2, 6-2 annihilation she suffered at the hands of Halep in 56 minutes.A day when Williams had been expected to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of winning 24 Grand Slam singles titles ended with the 37-year-old American suffering her heaviest defeat in a major final. Since winning the first of her slams at the 1999 U.S. Open, Williams has lost only nine finals at the tournaments that make up the Big Four in tennis.But never before had she been up against an opponent she described as “playing out of her mind”.“For me any loss is not easy, per se. When someone plays lights out, there’s really not much you can do. You just have to understand that that was their day today,” said Williams, who won the last of her 23 majors while already pregnant with her daughter Olympia at the 2017 Australian Open. “It was a little bit a deer in headlights for me. My opponent played unbelievably.”The performance was definitely very un-Williams-like. Considering she had beaten Halep in nine of their 10 previous meetings, including at this year’s Australian Open, the American was the overwhelming favourite to win yesterday.HAILSTORM OF ERRORSAdd in the fact that she had fired down 45 aces and won 83 percent of her service games to reach the final and it seemed as if it was game on for Williams to hoist the Venus Rosewater Dish for an eighth time.Instead, her game fell apart in a hailstorm of 26 unforced errors. In contrast, Halep’s tally stood at just three as the Romanian produced what she hailed as the “best tennis of my life”.“Today nothing really helped. I made way too many errors for a lot of stuff to work,” said Williams, who trailed 4-0 before finally registering on the scoreboard. The result means Williams has now had three failed attempts in finals to win that 24th major – she also contested last year’s Wimbledon and U.S. Open showpiece matches.There is no doubt Williams is a supreme athlete considering she has made it to three Grand Slam finals since suffering multiple complications following the birth of her daughter in September 2017, but the near misses will irritate her.“In my 20s I was always expected to win but … seems like every Grand Slam final I’m in recently has been an unbelievable effort to get there,” said the former world number one, who had played only five tournaments this year before her run at the All England Club. As far as American greats Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe are concerned, Williams needs to get back to basics.“It’s essential for Serena to play more matches. You can’t fake it. You need those matches,” said Navratilova.McEnroe added: “Serena has to get herself even fitter because at that level she can be exposed.” Williams had faced only one top-30 player coming into the final – Germany’s Julia Goerges in the third round – hence when she came up against former world number one Halep, she found herself ambushed with no way out.But the champion who grew up practising on cracked public courts in Compton, surrounded by drug dealers and drive-by shootings, is determined to show the world that the Serena Williams story is far from over. “I’ve got to keep trying, keep fighting and enjoying the sport,” she said.“I just have to figure out a way to win a final.” Until she does that, Australia’s Court can sleep peacefully knowing her record is safe – at least for now.
WATCH US LIVE Associated Press Television News FOLLOW US COMMENT First Published: 23rd August, 2020 06:58 IST Written By SUBSCRIBE TO US Dustin Johnson could have used a finish like this for a record score. The birdie-eagle ending to his round Saturday at The Northern Trust gave him a 7-under 64 and stretched his lead to five shots in the FedEx Cup playoffs opener.Johnson, coming off a remarkable day in which he was 11 under through 11 holes and finished with seven pars for a 60, pulled away from Harris English and Scottie Scheffler with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th and a 40-footer for eagle on the closing hole at the TPC Boston.He was at 22-under 191, his lowest 54-hole score by three shots.“I’m in a great position and like where I’m at, but I’m still going to have to go out and shoot a good score,” Johnson said. “You can go low out here and guys are going low every day, especially with the conditions we have — perfect greens, golf course is in great shape and not a lot of wind.”English had three birdies in a four-hole stretch early on the back nine and was tied for the lead when Johnson made his lone bogey of the round on the 13th hole when he failed to get up-and-down from a bunker.English, however, followed with consecutive bogeys when he missed the green well to the right of the water on the par-3 16th, and three-putted from 70 feet on the 17th. He missed a third consecutive putt from 7 feet or closer, the last one for birdie, and had to settle for a 66.Scheffler closed with a birdie to follow his second-round 59 with a 67. He played in the final group with Johnson, just like he did two weeks ago on the final day of the PGA Championship.Even so, they’re five shots behind Johnson, who is going for his second victory of the year and could go to No. 1 in the world — provided Jon Rahm doesn’t finish second — for the first time since May 2019.“Try to make as many birdies as I can and see what happens,” English said.Louis Oosthuizen (68) was seven shots behind, and his best hope now would appear to be moving into the top 70 who advance to the second playoff event next week at Olympia Fields south of Chicago.Tiger Woods predicted Friday there would be low scoring in the third round, and he was right — just not from him or Rory McIlroy, a star pairing for the breakfast hour. Woods birdied the last hole for a 73. McIlroy made two triple bogeys in his round of 74. They get to play again Sunday morning.Johnson will be going for his fifth FedEx Cup playoff victory, and third in this event on a third course. What matters more is how he finishes the season. The FedEx Cup already features some of the best players in golf — Woods, McIlroy, Vijay Singh, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth among them — and Johnson wants to be on that list.Johnson set the target with four birdies in eight holes before heavy rain moved in and halted the third round for 45 minutes. It also softened a TPC Boston that was getting slightly firmer.He came back and hit to tap-in range for birdie on the 12th, and the had the great finish.Johnson needed a birdie on the 18th on Friday for his first 59, and said he regrets hitting driver off the tee with a shot that tumbled down a small slope into the rough. Lesson learned? Not really. With the rain, he opted for driver again, teed it low and hit this one perfect, setting up a 5-iron to the green and his long eagle putt.Image credits: AP LIVE TV Last Updated: 23rd August, 2020 06:58 IST Johnson’s Big Finish Gives Him 5-shot Lead At TPC Boston Dustin Johnson could have used a finish like this for a record score. The birdie-eagle ending to his round Saturday at The Northern Trust gave him a 7-under 64 and stretched his lead to five shots in the FedEx Cup playoffs opener