Comcast outbids Fox with $39 billion offer for Sky in auction

Galtero Lara
Setiembre 23, 2018

Had the bid been close, there was speculation that Sky might have recommended the Fox offer to shareholders.

'We couldn't be more excited by the opportunities in front of us. It said it wanted to complete the deal by the end of October. "Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team".

Comcast stock fell 7.4% on the day the company's interest in Sky first became known in late February, with Wall Street surprised by Comcast's sudden focus on global distribution.

United States cable giant Comcast bid £17.28 a share for control of London-listed Sky during the auction, bettering £15.67 a share offer by Fox, the Takeover Panel said in a statement shortly after final bids were made today.

Comcast owns NBC Universal and is the largest cable operator in the US.

The bid was revived in December 2016, by which time News Corp had been broken up, leaving 21st Century Fox as one of its successors.

Fox's holding, which Comcast's offer values at more than $15 billion, stems from Murdoch's role in the creation of the company almost three decades ago. Around 29 million customers get cable television, internet access and other services from Comcast.

Sky also brings Comcast sought-after TV content, including rights to Premier League English soccer.

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One hedge fund manager who holds Sky shares said nobody could complain about the Comcast price. The predominantly United States business is in decline - Sky offers it the opportunity to diversify outside of America.

'Furthermore, Comcast's current viewership is in decline.

Comcast's final offer was a jump on its bid going into the auction of 14.75 pounds, and compares with Sky's closing price of 15.85 pounds on Friday. The Takeover Panel will unveil the victor this evening.

Comcast has a stake in USA streaming company Hulu, alongside Fox and Disney, but analysts such as MoffettNathanson Research's Craig Moffett, earlier tipped the cable company could use the new assets to launch a global over-the-top television streaming offering.

Mr Murdoch has long wanted to seize full control of Sky, having previously made an ill-fated attempt to buy it out in 2011.

Disney has agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox's film and TV assets, including its existing 39 percent stake in Sky, and would have taken full ownership after a successful Fox takeover.

Fox had always been trying to acquire the 61 per cent of Sky it doesn't already own.

The auction was a dramatic climax to a transatlantic bidding battle waged since February, when Comcast gate-crashed Fox's takeover of Sky.

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