Comcast Formalizes $31B Sky Bid

Sky pulls support for Rupert Murdoch bid as Comcast confirms $31bn cash offer

The offer marks yet another twist in the takeover saga, which began in December 2016 when Fox made its latest controversial bid to take full control of the group.

Although this may have started a bidding war, Sky was quick to respond to the announcement of Comcast's offer.

Sky's independent board members are withdrawing their recommendation of the 21st Century Fox bid.

The proposed combination has been further complicated by Fox's agreement to sell many of its TV and film assets to Disney, including its stake in Sky, for $52 billion. "Comcast is gaming out the possibility of making a public case to the company's shareholders that they should reject the Disney deal, which is expected to come to a vote this summer, and opt for a Comcast tie-up instead, people familiar with the situation say". Comcast's offer comes just days before the May 1 deadline for the Competition and Markets Authority to give its final advice about the Fox bid to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock. "We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast".

Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast, said: "With its 23 million retail customers, leading positions in the UK, Italy, and Germany, and its history of strong financial performance, we see significant opportunities for growth by combining our businesses".

However, says Jack, the result will be that "a U.S. company - either Comcast or Disney - will end up owning Sky".

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The company also said it would maintain the funding and independence of Sky's news operation for at least 10 years and pledged that it wouldn't buy any British newspapers for at least five years.

The deal has been held up by concerns about the influence Murdoch could wield over public opinion through owning all of the broadcaster as well as British newspapers including The Times and The Sun. The stock closed up nearly 4 percent at £13.59.

Comcast has said that adding Sky to its business would increase global revenues to 25% from 9%. Sky is arguably the most equivalent company to Comcast outside of the US.

"As far as the value of Sky goes, that's a game changer". Sky also has the rights to broadcast major professional sports events including games in the English Premier League. It will also establish a Sky News editorial board to ensure the channel's independence, keep the United Kingdom headquarters in Osterley for five years and not acquire any majority interest in British newspapers for five years. "As a result of the announcement of this higher cash offer, the Independent Committee is withdrawing its recommendation of [Fox's] offer", they said in a statement.

Comcast, which owns cable channels MSNBC and CNBC, argues its approach would escape concerns over media plurality because of its "minimal presence" in United Kingdom media.

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