Comcast pays $490M to founder's widow, settles perks debt from bygone era

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has paid $490 million to the 94-year-old widow of late company founder Ralph Roberts to cover perks that were awarded back more than two decades ago.

According to an SEC filing rendered last month, Suzanne Roberts received $326 million to cover perks awarded to her late husband in 1992. The MSO paid another $164 million to terminate a rather pricey life insurance policy on the widow. 

Comcast said the actual cost of the payout will only be about $154 million, due to corporate tax benefits, and also because the cash value of the life insurance policy was more than what was paid to Suzanne Roberts. 

The payments, according to Bloomberg, are tied to life insurance policies organized under a split-dollar arrangement, a method that was once preferred by employers because it helped key executives receive a bigger death benefit. 

The arrangement stopped being so common due to its similarity with interest-free loans, which came under regulatory scrutiny following scandals at Enron Corp. and Tyco International Ltd.

Ralph Roberts died in June 2015.

For more:
- read this Bloomberg story
- read this ABC News story

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