Comcast offers $31B bid for Sky, vying with Disney and Fox

Friday, 02 Mar, 2018

Comcast is the biggest United States cable TV firm.

"Sky and Comcast are a ideal fit: we are both leaders in creating and distributing content", Roberts said on a conference call.

Chief Executive Roberts said the visit was one of a number of things that confirmed Sky as a "jewel" that his company should try to acquire, as Comcast looks to boost global revenues as growth in the United States slows.

The cable network powerhouse sent Sky rallying 20% higher on the London Stock Exchange after it muscled in on Rupert Murdoch's bid with a 16% higher offer of £12.50 per share.

Comcast Corp. wants to go European and it won't let media baron Rupert Murdoch stand in its way. In addition to satellite TV, Sky also offers cable and broadband services as well as its own original programming.

Comcast already has NBC Universal film and TV assets, however, the deal "would give it a very powerful distribution pan-European network". "It has 23 million customers and leading positions in the U.K., Italy and Germany". £13 plus is now the marker which may be too much for Disney and/or Sky.

Comcast chief financial officer Michael Cavanagh admitted the Premier League auction was a factor, but not the main driving force behind the offer.

The US cable operator believes that because it only has a "minimal presence in the United Kingdom media market", it does not believe that its proposal creates any media plurality concerns in the UK.

After British authorities appeared to lay out an opening for approval earlier this year, Sky shares have strengthened on expectation the Fox-Sky deal would get done.

However, Fox has been trying to mollify competition concerns.

Fox will be furious after Comcast's bid, said Crispin Odey, Murdoch's former son-in-law and founder of hedge fund manager Odey Asset Management, which owns a 0.8 perc ent stake in Sky according to Bloomberg.

The CMA has until May 1 before sending its final report on the Fox bid to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, who will then have 30 working days to make a final decision.

"Disney may well extract Sky from the Fox bid, and bid for it separately", DeGroote said in an email.

So a Comcast takeover of Sky could require Disney to revise its proposed takeover of Fox. He said Comcast would also settle for a majority stake, and would be prepared to be co-owners with either Fox or Disney.

Asked about the Comcast bid on a visit to Paris on Tuesday, Mr Iger declined to comment. The independent directors of Sky are mindful of their fiduciary duties and their obligations under the U.K. Takeover Code. In the midst of that, and a lengthy regulatory review of the deal by the United Kingdom government, it agreed to sell a large chunk of itself to Disney.

Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson Research, a top analyst, had a mixed recation to Comcast's bid for Sky. Earlier this month both Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast was thinking of reviving its attempt to counter Disney for Fox's assets even though its previous bid was rejected late past year.