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m3n4.net December 14, 2018


Comcast eclipses Rupert Murdoch's Fox with 30 billion-pound Sky bid

23 September 2018, 08:26 | Ivan Casey

Comcast outbids Fox with €33bn offer for Sky in auction

Comcast outbids 21st Century Fox for Sky

After three rounds of secret bidding on Friday and Saturday, Comcast offered the higher price of £17.28 (NZ$33.75) per share for Sky, the equivalent of almost £30 billion (NZ$58 billion). Comcast now needs Sky investors to tender their shares by an October 11 deadline to seal its victory. Mr Murdoch, at a December briefing about the Disney takeover, said that if "anything goes wrong [with the Sky takeover] the existing shares would go to Disney" and "it'll be up to them what to do". Deep-pocketed firms like Netflix and Amazon have eye-popping budgets and are pouring money into media production and streaming rights.

Comcast has emerged as the top bidder for European broadcaster Sky after a rare auction held by British regulators.

Brian Roberts, Comcast's chief executive, was based in a hotel in London's West End for the duration of the auction, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

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'Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand and accomplished management team. "I still think it may look a bit cheap in a couple of years". However, Comcast would become the controlling owner if Sky shareholders approve the bid.

The future of Sky has been hanging in the balance for more than eight years. Sky is Europe's largest pay-television operator, with 22.5 million customers in seven countries and popular programming including English Premier League soccer and Game of Thrones.

In addition to its satellite TV service, Sky offers a video streaming option called Now TV, which has about 2 million subscribers.

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What does this mean for Sky customers? Comcast estimates that owning Sky will create $500 million in synergies, partly through selling Sky content in the USA and NBC programming in Europe. While Comcast acquired NBCUniversal and DreamWorks Animation over the past decade, it failed in attempts to buy Disney in 2004, Time Warner Cable Inc.in 2015 and Fox in July. The loss of Sky partly stymies Iger's goal of establishing more direct ties to consumers and expanding his global business.

Comcast's repeated overtures forced Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger to spend almost $18 billion more than he initially planned, or $71.3 billion, to purchase the Fox assets. The first was thwarted in 2011 by a phone-tapping scandal at his United Kingdom newspaper business.

"Sky is a remarkable story and we are proud to have played such a significant role in building the incredible value reflected today in Comcast's offer", the company said.

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