Comcast launches rival £22 billion bid for Sky

25 April, 2018, 16:12 | Author: Teresa Adams
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Comcast is offering 12.50 pounds per Sky share (Dh64.09) in an all-cash deal, the Philadelphia-based company said in a statement Wednesday, confirming a proposed offer it made on February 27.

On Wednesday, Sky said it welcomed Comcast's firm intention to bid for it, as well as commitments the USA cable giant had made to address potential public-interest concerns over Sky News, its influential 24-hour news channel.

The bid is yet to be given the backing of the Sky board, but Comcast said it was in talks with the Sky Independent Committee "with a view to obtaining a future recommendation of the acquisition".

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Comcast formalized its $30.7 billion bid for Sky, throwing down the gauntlet to Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney as they vie for Britain's largest pay-TV broadcaster.

In January, a United Kingdom regulator advised that the government should block the Fox bid to buy the remaining 61% of Sky because it would give one family - the Murdochs - too much control over media in Britain. The bid represents a 16% premium on the latest offer from Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

After Comcast lodged its offer, Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky, said it is committed to its bid and it is weighing its options.

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Media billionaire Murdoch must now decide whether to increase Fox's bid to stave off Comcast's challenge, raising the prospect of a bidding war.

But the United Kingdom competition watchdog has raised a host of concerns over the Fox acquisition, while since then, Walt Disney has also agreed to snap up a raft of Fox assets including the Sky 39 per cent stake. The company said it saw $500 million of synergies from the deal.

Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast, said: "With its 23 million retail customers, leading positions in the UK, Italy, and Germany, and its history of strong financial performance, we see significant opportunities for growth by combining our businesses". However, there's no certainty that Comcast will be able to pull off the offer. "We very much hope that the independent committee of Sky directors will recommend our superior cash offer".

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