Comcast beats Fox in Sky auction with $39B bid

FILE -This March 29, 2017 file photo shows a sign outside the Comcast Center in Philadelphia. British regulator says Comcast has won an auction to formally bid for broadcaster Sky, on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

LONDON — Comcast has emerged as the top bidder for European broadcaster Sky after a rare auction held by British regulators.

After three rounds of secret bidding on Friday and Saturday, Comcast offered the higher price of 17.28 pounds ($22.58) per share for Sky, the equivalent of nearly 30 billion pounds ($39 billion). Rival 21st Century Fox offered 15.67 ($20.47) per share.

In a statement, Sky recommended that shareholders accept Comcast's offer and sell their shares immediately. Comcast said it hoped to complete the takeover by the end of October.

"Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand and accomplished management team," Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. "This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally."

Philadelphia-based Comcast is one of the largest cable television providers in the U.S. Around 29 million customers get cable television, internet access and other services from Comcast.

Britain's regulator, the Takeover Panel, set up the auction to reduce uncertainty for Sky after months of offers and counteroffers from the American media giants. Sky is Europe's largest pay-television operator, with 22.5 million customers in seven countries and popular programming including English Premier League soccer and "Game of Thrones."

Fox owns 39 percent of Sky. It now must decide whether to sell its stake or remain a minority shareholder.

Fox had long been trying to acquire the 61 percent of Sky it doesn't already own. Fox founder Rupert Murdoch's last bid sank amid a 2011 phone-hacking scandal, in which journalists working for Murdoch newspapers were accused of gaining illegal access to the voicemail messages of crime victims, celebrities and members of the royal family.

A bidding war emerged last December, when Comcast made an offer for Fox's entertainment assets, which Walt Disney Co. is in the process of buying for about $71 billion (54 billion pounds). Comcast eventually dropped out of that contest to focus on its acquisition of Sky.

Its winning bid came at a steep price. Comcast initially made a $31 billion (23.7 billion pound) bid for Sky last February, then raised that bid to $34 billion (26 billion pounds) in July.

British regulators organized the rare auction in part to ensure that Sky's value didn't erode during the long bidding process. The last time such an auction took place was in 2007, when Tata beat out CSN to buy Britain's Corus, creating what at the time was one of the world's top five steelmakers.

People also read these

"La La Land" leads race for British Academy Film...

Jan 10, 2017

Perky, pastel-hued jazz musical "La La Land" leads the race for the British Academy Film Awards,...

Arsenal midfielder Xhaka questioned by police

Jan 24, 2017

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has been questioned by police after being accused of racially...

Duchess of Cambridge meets families at children's...

Jan 24, 2017

The Duchess of Cambridge has paid an emotional visit to a children's hospice in a village northeast...

Princess Diana statue to mark 20 years since car...

Jan 29, 2017

The sons of the late Princess Diana plan to build a statue to mark the 20th anniversary of her...

Singer Vera Lynn to mark 100th birthday with new...

Feb 2, 2017

Singer Vera Lynn is making plans to mark her 100th birthday with the release of a new album...

About Us

Frontal Report is an emerging leader in all forms of media. We aim to be the leading news brand for readers around the world.

Contact us: sales[at]frontalreport.com

Subscribe Now!