21st Century Fox and Disney have confirmed that they will sell off their stake in Sky to Comcast. It would mean that the US media titan will almost certainly hold full control of the broadcaster.
The confirmation ends the speculation around what the bosses of Disney and Fox, Bob Iger and Rupert Murdoch, were going to do with the 39 percent stake in the company after their loss in the dramatic auction for Sky during the weekend.
Fox owns the Sky stake, however, Disney effectively took control of it after it agreed to acquire the entertainment assets of Fox for $71 billion last July.
In a statement, Fox said that Disney had already consented to the sale of the Sky stake.
The deal will put approximately £11.6 billion into Disney’s pocket. It will likely go towards the reduction of the large amount of debt that it raised to acquire the assets of Fox.
The victory of Comcast puts an end to the three-decade relationship of Fox and Murdoch with the broadcaster. The media mogul established Sky into one of the leading broadcasters in the United Kingdom from a small industrial park on the outskirts of west London.
A statement that was published by Fox stated: “When we launched Sky in 1989 it was four channels produced from a prefab structure in an industrial park on the fringes of west London.”
It added: “We bet — and almost lost — the farm on launching a business that many didn’t think was such a good idea.”
It continued: “Today, Sky is Europe’s leading entertainment company and a world-class example of a customer-driven enterprise. This achievement would not have been possible without decades of entrepreneurial risk-taking and the commitment of thousands of colleagues, creators, and dreamers.
It concluded: “We are grateful to our exceptional colleagues at Sky for creating this unique and outstanding company and wish them continued success.”
Yesterday, Comcast said that it had already acquired 30 percent of the Sky shares from minority investors. The sale of the stake of Fox means that Comcast has now surpassed the acceptance threshold and can start the discussions with Sky.
It comes after the dramatic auction last Saturday, which saw Comcast win a three round bidding process via an offer of £17.28 per share, valuing Sky at almost £30 billion.
The remainder of the shareholders of Sky have until the 11th of October to sell their holdings to Comcast.