Comcast outbids Fox with $39 billion offer for Sky in auction

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 23, 2018

"This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally". Comcast said it hoped to complete the sale by the end of October.

Fox and Comcast were only allowed to make fixed-price cash bids in sterling.

Comcast's bid of £17.28 per Sky ordinary share values Sky at £30.4 billion ($39.7 billion, 33.8 billion euros).

Rupert Murdoch's Fox, which handled the bidding for Disney, offered about $35 billion or $20.63 a share. "In our view, Disney will become a much more complicated company for the Street to analyze upon closure of the Fox transaction, but becoming a de-factor joint venture partner on Sky with Comcast complicates the situation even further, in our opinion". Rival 21st Century Fox offered £15.67 per share.

Comcast operates a more integrated model in the USA which includes cable broadband, telephony and free to air television along certain parts of the East Coast.

The dramatic fate of Sky is nearing its finale, as a £26bn head-to-head auction between two of the world's most powerful media companies enters into its final few hours. With Sky, the Philadelphia-based company would deliver TV services to 52 million customers in the U.S.as well as European countries including U.K., Italy and Germany.

Fox's holding, which Comcast's offer values at more than $15 billion, stems from Murdoch's role in the creation of the company almost three decades ago. "Accordingly, the independent committee unanimously recommends that Sky shareholders accept the Comcast offer, and in order to ensure the successful closing of the Comcast offer, urges shareholders to accept immediately".

"Consumers are no longer buying whole cable packages but are rather going for 'skinny bundles" with SVODs (subscription video on demand) such as Netflix, which offer content at a lower price point; acquiring Sky means that Comcast can also diversify its route to market'.

Sources familiar with the matter said Fox, Disney and Comcast had not been in discussions about the 39 percent stake.

It is a blow to 87-year-old Murdoch, who tried to buy Sky eight years ago only for the bid to collapse in the fallout from a phone-hacking scandal at his British newspaper business.

The process has also been beset by regulatory issues amid concerns over media plurality and the degree of Mr Murdoch's influence over the United Kingdom media landscape.

Sky's chief executive Jeremy Darroch said Comcast's victory was the beginning of a new chapter. "Sky has never stood still, and with Comcast our momentum will only increase".

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