Comcast moves to outfox Rupert Murdoch with Sky bid

Comcast moves to outfox Rupert Murdoch with Sky bid

Comcast moves to outfox Rupert Murdoch with Sky bid

The bid formalises an offer first made in February and puts pressure on Fox, which already has a 39pc stake in Sky, to lift its £10.75 a share cash offer.

Fox, which already owns 39 percent of Sky, offered to buy the rest of the shares last June, triggering concerns the deal would give Murdoch too much control over British media. "We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast". The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority is now looking at the bid, which has already been scrutinized by media regulator Ofcom.

"The question now is whether Fox/Disney makes a knockout bid to discourage any further Comcast offer and what it thinks this level is, without breaking the bank", analysts at Liberum Capital said in a note to clients.

Accompanying its offer, Comcast made a number of commitments on how it will run Sky, many of which match pledges previously made by Fox.

Other TCI officials have also had conversations with Comcast's investor-relations team that left Comcast executives with the clear indication that TCI wants the cable giant to continue its pursuit of Fox, the people said.

Comcast, which owns Dreamworks Animation and the production company behind Downton Abbey, said it would commit to keeping Sky's headquarters in west London for at least five years.

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Yet the contest between Fox and Comcast has been complicated by a $52.4 billion offer from Disney previous year to swallow most of Fox, including its existing stake in Sky.

"We are delighted to be formalizing our offer for Sky today", Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand.

The Fox offer had faced hurdles previous year when the UK's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport issued a European intervention notice, which asked United Kingdom media regulator Ofcom to report on two public interest considerations around the merger plans.

The Comcast offer values Sky at 12.50 pounds ($17.45) per share, a 16% improvement on the 10.75 pounds ($15.00) per share from Rupert Murdoch's Fox that Sky had previously accepted.

That undertaking was anticipated to ameliorate any concerns over plurality, although the Fox-Disney deal remains under the scrutiny of United States regulators. In reaction to that, Fox has in recent weeks offered new concessions, including an extended commitment to United Kingdom news channel Sky News, to seal regulatory approval of the deal. Sky was expected to have become part of the Mouse House if the former deal goes ahead.

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