Comcast confirms $31B bid for Sky

26 April, 2018, 12:48 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
  • John Phillips  Getty Images

US media group Comcast submitted a 22 billion pound ($30.7 billion) bid for Sky on Wednesday, prompting the European pay TV group to drop its support for a lower offer from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox.

Murdoch's 21st Century Fox bid £10.75 per share for Sky back in 2016 but the process has been bogged down by United Kingdom regulatory concerns that have called into question the prospect of it ever succeeding.

The group added that it plans to agree a raft of legally-binding commitments over Sky and its investment in the United Kingdom, in particular for Sky News, while it also said it would commit to keeping the group's Osterley headquarters for at least five years.

Comcast, which first outlined an offer at the same £12.50 a share price in February, said it would continue to engage with the Sky's independent directors with a view to obtaining a recommendation for its deal.

"We think Sky is an outstanding company".

Twenty-First Century Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky, said it remained committed to its recommended cash offer for Sky announced in December 2016, and was now considering its options.

"We are delighted to be formalizing our offer for Sky today". Nevertheless, investors who pushed Sky shares up 4 percent to 13.57 pounds on Wednesday are wagering on Disney and Fox disregarding financial sense.

Comcast's potential disruption of Murdoch's plans comes almost seven years after the media mogul withdrew a previous bid for full control of Sky, an offer that was derailed by the phone-hacking scandal that resulted in the closure of his newspaper The News of the World.




The CMA has raised a host of concerns over the Fox acquisition, while since then, Disney has also agreed to snap up a raft of Fox assets including Sky's 39% stake. In addition to Comcast and as required by the Takeover Panel, Sky also intends to give the same post-offer undertakings conditional upon the Comcast Offer becoming wholly unconditional.

Comcast, which owns cable channels MSNBC and CNBC as well as telecoms services, has already said it believes its approach would escape concerns over media plurality because of its "minimal presence" in United Kingdom media.

Sky is a leading consumer entertainment company in Europe, providing entertainment and communications services primarily in the UK, Germany and Italy.

Not acquire any majority interest in United Kingdom newspapers for five years.

That is because Comcast has a minimal United Kingdom media market presence.

Sky News has become a flash point in the Fox's bid due to competition fears centring on Mr Murdoch's ownership of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers.

Roberts added, "Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe".

The firm had also offered to insulate Sky's news operations from the influence of Murdoch and his family to win approval of its bid.

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