Comcast offers £22bn to snatch Sky from Rupert Murdoch


Comcast offers £22bn to snatch Sky from Rupert Murdoch

"We would like to own the whole of Sky and we will be looking to acquire over 50 per cent of the Sky shares", Roberts said, indicating he could be willing to share ownership of Sky as long as it has control.

However, Comcast's bid is well above 21 Century Fox's bid, which values the company at £18.5 billion, and which shareholders had claimed undervalued it.

Comcast's interest further complicates the uncertainty over Sky's future ownership as Fox has agreed to sell its entertainment assets to Disney - including its 39% Sky stake - for $52bn (£37bn).

The Competition and Markets Authority had suggested ways Fox could address its concerns, including spinning off Sky News, or "behavioural" changes to protect the media organisation from the direct influence of the Murdoch Family Trust.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that Comcast and Sky are the ideal fit, as both are leaders in creating as well as distributing content and Comcast believes Sky in an excellent company.

The media mogul is reported widely to have a strong affection and friendship with U.S. president Donald Trump with whom he is said to have weekly telephone communications. That exceeds the £10.75 offered by Fox for the 61% stake it doesn't already own in the European broadcaster by about 16%. We strongly expect to see a bidding war for Sky.

"The successful conclusion of the Premiership football rights auction has moved the dial for Sky, which secured more games at a lower cost than last time around".

News Corp made an £8bn takeover bid for Sky back in 2010, which was then retracted in 2011 while the phone-hacking trial was conducted.

While shares of Comcast, Disney, and Fox were all down significantly Tuesday, Netflix was still trading near all-time highs. That was made on the assumption that Fox would buy out the rest of Sky, which has been described as the "crown jewel" in the Murdoch empire.

The chairman of Sky is James Murdoch, Rupert's son, so Comcast would need to gain the support of its independent shareholders for the better offer it has if a hostile bid is not made.

The US cable operator believes that because it only has a "minimal presence in the United Kingdom media market", it does not believe that its proposal creates any media plurality concerns in the UK.

Representatives of Fox and Disney couldn't immediately be reached for comment early Tuesday.

Fox's current efforts to buy Sky are now being investigated by the UK's competition regulator on plurality and corporate governance grounds. It's now waiting publication of a final report that will spell out regulators' recommended remedies, such as a separate editorial board for Sky News. But U.K. regulator have feared what he would do with that media concentration, especially because his media companies and newspapers have been plagued by scandals.

Sky's United Kingdom headquarters, employing 1,300 staff, would be maintained.

Roberts said the strategic benefits of the deal to Comcast are growth in Europe, an expanded content portfolio and larger customer base of 52 million, all of which create "meaningful financial opportunities". "We were really terribly impressed".



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