Comcast parries Rupert Murdoch's Sky bid with £26bn offer

Esequiel Farfan
Julio 12, 2018

Comcast's sweetened offer values Sky at £26 billion, or about $34 billion.

Murdoch's Fox said the performance of Sky since December 2016, including the renewal of the right to show English Premier League matches at a lower price than expected, justified its higher offer.

Its bid to buy the rest of the shares has been delayed by a series of regulatory investigations, first by Ofcom, the telecoms and broadcasting regulator, and then by the Competition & Markets Authority, the UK's competition regulator.

Fox's long-running pursuit for all of Sky has been plagued by United Kingdom government fears over media plurality and broadcasting standards and the influence of Australian-born U.S. citizen Murdoch. Subscribe today and listen on the go!

Tom Watson, a British Labour Party politician and opponent of Fox's bid to buy Sky, told Variety that a bidding war could be a good thing for shareholders but that it is more important to protect Sky.

Comcast's initial offer was considerably higher than the Fox bid that valued the satellite broadcaster at £18.5bn.

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Fox said Disney had given its consent to the additional debt Fox would take on and said that it would reimburse Fox by around 1 billion pounds if Fox succeeds in buying Sky at that price, but the Disney-Fox transaction falls through.

Fox agreed in a separate deal just before Christmas to sell its entertainment assets, including Sky, to Walt Disney for $65bn in shares.

"As the founding shareholder of Sky, we have remained deeply committed to bringing these two organizations together to create a world-class business positioned to deliver the very best entertainment experiences well into the future", Fox said in a statement. Of the assets he's seeking to acquire from Fox, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger called Sky "a real crown jewel".

The terms of Comcast's upcoming new offer could not be learned.

Last month, the Justice Department gave Disney the green light to purchase Fox provided it sold off the regional networks.

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