Comcast confirms 22 billion pound bid for Sky, sparking battle with Fox

26 April, 2018, 00:46 | Author: Corey Lynch
  • John Phillips  Getty Images

United States media giant Comcast offered Wednesday to buy British broadcaster Sky for £22 billion ($40 billion), topping a controversial bid from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

Fox, controlled by Rupert Murdoch's family, has faced hurdles trying to buy the parts of Sky it doesn't already own.

"We are delighted to be formalizing our offer for Sky today", said Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

"Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger, who called Sky a "crown jewel" when Disney announced its offer for Fox in December, now needs to decide how badly he wants to outdo Comcast for Sky and back a higher bid from Fox".

Notes the Wall Street Journal this morning: "Separately, Comcast is weighing whether to play interloper on the pending Walt Disney Co. acquisition of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets, people familiar with the situation say".

Roberts said that Comcast had "admired Sky for a long time", that the pay TV operator was "an outstanding business" and that there were "strong strategic benefits in combining Sky with Comcast". They cautioned that neither bid could yet be put to shareholders and advised them to take no action for now.




The markets think there will be one as shares are trading £1 higher than the Comcast bid.

It has said it plans to agree several legally binding commitments in the deal, including maintaining the company headquarters in Osterley, London for at least five years.

Following the formalisation of the Comcast bid, Sky's independent committee has withdrawn its recommendation of the 21 Century Fox offer which was made in December 2016.

Sky immediately withdrew its recommendation to its shareholders to accept the Fox bid.

It partly reflected expectations among investors that Fox and Comcast - along with potential other suitors - were likely to enter a bidding war. To get regulatory approval for that takeover, the companies have agreed that Fox would sell Sky News to Disney. It also owns movie studio Universal Pictures, home to "Minions" and "Jason Bourne" movies and some theme parks. Sky will be our platform for growth across Europe.

Comcast said it had secured a bridge loan of up to 16 billion pounds and a term loan credit agreement of up to 7 billion pounds to fund the deal.

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