Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Murdoch's Fox beats Comcast with agreed $32.5 billion bid for Sky

Currently Comcast’s $29 billion bid has been accepted by U.K. regulators without conditions Currently Comcast’s $29 billion bid has been accepted by U.K. regulators without conditions
Laurie Berry | 12 July, 2018, 12:54

Comcast Corp has raised its offer for Britain's Sky in a deal valuing the pay-TV group at $US34 billion ($A46 billion), topping a raised bid of $US32.5 billion from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.

Murdoch helped to launch Sky in 1989 in Britain, building it up to be Britain's dominant pay-TV provider through its ownership of Premier League soccer, USA drama and films.

Sky gives Fox and Comcast a rare opportunity to diversify out of the U.S. and reach more consumers directly. 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.

Comcast said its latest offer - up from the £12.50 per share it offered in April - had been recommended by Sky's independent committee of directors.

Comcast's initial offer was considerably higher than the Fox bid that valued the satellite broadcaster at £18.5bn.

The expectation from some analysts had been that Fox would wait for final United Kingdom approval before coming back with a higher bid, but with Prime Minister Theresa May's government committing to release a decision on Thursday, Fox pulled the trigger.

England V. Croatia, Winner Will Play France
Phillip Schofield praised the team for what they had achieved and for uniting people. It's four years away, sure, and a lot can change in that time.

Murdoch's company still faces significant regulatory battles in Britain, including the culture secretary's statement that Fox would have to divest itself of Sky News to win government approval because of concerns about media plurality.

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.

Hong Kong-based hedge fund Case Equity Partners, a Sky investor, said the fact Disney was in a slightly more favourable position for Fox's USA media assets meant Comcast would fight even harder to get Sky.

The agreed price represents an 82% premium to Sky's shares in December 2016, before 21st Century Fox struck its original deal to buy Sky, and a multiple of 21 times 2017 earnings per share.

KitGuru Says: No matter who ends up getting their hands on Fox's assets, the loss of competition from such a large player in the market is sure to be felt across the entertainment industry.

Currently, Fox has set July 27 as the meeting date for the stockholder vote on the Disney acquisition.

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