Comcast Outbids Fox In Sky Bidding War

By Mike Mozart via Wikimedia Commons

Comcast, the US cable giant, has offered the highest bid in the auction for Sky, the broadcaster, valuing the firm at over £30 billion.

Comcast was able to beat Rupert Murdoch’s Fox in an unusual blind auction process that was set by the Takeover Panel of the United Kingdom.

The chairman and chief executive of the firm said that it was “a great day for Comcast”.

Sky has recommended that its shareholders accept the bid. It said that it was an “excellent outcome” and “represents materially superior value.”

The 23 million subscribers and Premier League football rights of the UK firm make it one of most profitable TV companies of the United Kingdom.

The bid presented by Comcast equated to £17.28 per share, beating the £15.67 per share offer of Fox.

Fox had been attempting to take over the 61 percent of Sky that it does not already own until Comcast beat its bid.

Last July, Fox increased its offer to £24.5 billion, however, this was trumped by a £26 billion bid from Comcast.

The said process has also been plagued by regulatory issues because of concerns over media plurality and the degree of the influence of Murdoch over the media landscape of the United Kingdom.

The chairman and chief executive of Comcast, Brian Roberts, stated: “Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team.”

He added: “This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.”

He continued: “We now encourage Sky shareholders to accept our offer, which we look forward to completing before the end of October 2018.”

In a statement, Fox said that it was “considering its options” for the 39 percent shareholding that it currently owns in Sky.

It stated: “We are proud to have played such a significant role in building the incredible value reflected today in Comcast’s offer.”

Sky’s future has been hanging in the balance for over eight years.

The process started when the News Corp company of Murdoch presented a bid for the full control of what was then BSkyB.

That said bid, however, was scuppered by the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed the UK tabloid newspapers of Murdoch and affecrted the reputation of the firm negatively.

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

The said process has been complicated by the deal that was presented by Disney to acquire majority of the assets of Fox, which is scheduled to be completed next year once it is approved by international regulators.