United Kingdom: Comcast Beats 21st Century Fox For Sky
Comcast, The American pay-TV operator, has put in a bid higher than that of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in a blind auction to take over Sky.
The auction was held on Saturday, and the two telecommunications giants had been in a heated competition for the British pay-TV operator, according to the United Kingdom’s Takeover Panel.
Comcast is currently offering £17.28 per share for Sky ($40 billion), compared to Fox’s bid of £15.67 per share - 10% more – this means that Comcast's bid values Sky at £29.7-billion.
With Comcast's higher bid for Sky in the race that it entered in February, it has become highly likely that Comcast will now become the new owner of Sky in the American pay-TV operator's global expansion, after shareholder approval.
This is a massive loss and disappointment for the Murdock family as Rupert Murdock has tried to get control of all of Sky for almost the entire past decade.
Sky has around 23 million subscribers and 31 000 employees in the UK, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Spain, Italy and Switzerland.
With a robust pay-TV offering tied into distribution and lucrative deals with American TV brands like HBO and Showtime, a production slate of premium local series it sells internationally, licensing agreements for the best premium sports rights such as the English Premier League (EPL) for the next 3 years, and a tie-in agreement with the worldwide streaming giant Netflix.
South Africa's MultiChoice has been closely mimicking Sky's operations and services model the past decade across Africa through its DStv, Supersport and MNet brands.
While Comcast has a large NBCUniversal International Networks office in Central London, Comcast promises to keep Sky's corporate headquarters at its Osterley campus in West-London. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says that the acquisition of SKY will allow a quick and efficient increase of Comcast’s customer growth and that they are very excited about this new opportunity.
Jeremy Darroch, Sky group executive, has released a statement saying that the Comcast offer is an excellent outcome for Sky shareholders and that on behalf of the independent committee of SKY he wishes to congratulate everyone at SKY on creating such a successful company.