Saturday, 21 July, 2018


Comcast is expected to raise its offer for Sky

Comcast Comcast knows it will likely need to divest Fox's regional sports networks if it wants to buy the company's assets
Hannah Rogers | 12 July, 2018, 05:12

Comcast Corp. boosted its bid for Europe's Sky TV to $34 billion on Wednesday evening, in a global I-can-do-you-one-better takeover battle with Rupert Murdoch.

The price agreed, which represents an 82 percent premium to the price of Sky's shares in December 2016 before Fox's initial offer, is at a multiple of 21 times 2017 earnings per share, Fox said.

Comcast on Wednesday increased its cash offer to 14.75 pounds per share.

Disney's bid to buy out the majority of Fox's entertainment assets was the talk of the town a year ago, until the two companies hit a roadblock - an anti-competitive complaint by the Department of Justice.

But Fox must promise to divest Sky News to assuage concerns over Fox controlling too much of the country's news media. Analysts said it was not a knock-out, and Fox did not say it was its final offer. 21CF now anticipates that the acquisition will complete in the third quarter of 2018. "We strongly believe that a combined 21CF and Sky will be a powerful driver for the continued growth and vibrancy of the United Kingdom and broader global creative industries".

"This transformative transaction will position Sky so that it can continue to compete within an environment that now includes some of the largest companies in the world", Fox said.

This is sweet music to the 61% of Sky shareholders who aren't part of the Murdoch family and they will be happy with the independent directors on the Sky board. The European pay-TV company has become a pawn in a wider contest between Comcast and Walt Disney (dis) for the bulk of Murdoch's media empire, as each seeks scale to take on streaming competitors like Netflix.

Fox, which already owns 39 percent of Sky, said it had secured the agreement of the independent committee of Sky for the deal.

Rupert Murdoch's company further added that Disney has provided its consent to the increased debt that would be incurred by 21CF as a result of the increased Sky offer.

Another wrench has been thrown in the ongoing saga of the Disney Fox deal.

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