Comcast Starts A Bidding War With Fox For European Broadcaster Sky

  • Comcast Starts A Bidding War With Fox For European Broadcaster Sky

Comcast Starts A Bidding War With Fox For European Broadcaster Sky

At the same time, Walt Disney, which has agreed to buy large parts of Fox, may also consider making an offer for Sky.

The independent directors of pay-TV group Sky are now withdrawing their recommendation of a takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch's Fox after USA cable company Comcast challenged it with a £22bn ($30.68bn) offer. It said its board would also withdraw its recommendation for the Fox bid.

Comcast formalized its offer through what is known as a Rule 2.7 announcement in which it said it was committed to preserving Sky's editorial independence and would not acquire a majority interest in any United Kingdom newspaper for five years "to ensure media plurality is sustained".

"We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast", said Chairman and Chief Executive Brian L Roberts. Fox cited concerns about regulatory risk.

NBCUniversal revenue increased 21% to $9.5 billion, primarily driven by the broadcasts of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. The company lost 96,000 video subscribers, compared with an estimate for a 60,800 drop.

Sky responded by saying it was withdrawing its recommendation of the Fox deal - paving the way for bids to be raised. The assets in the Disney-Fox deal, which is expected to come to a shareholder vote this summer, include the Twentieth Century Fox studio, cable networks and worldwide properties. TCI's next disclosure of its holdings likely would come in a May filing.

Mr. Hohn declined to comment on his stake in Fox.

To address media plurality concerns, Fox had recently announced Disney would consider buying Sky News, even if its takeover of Fox's other assets didn't go through. Their economic interest, which is what would count in a shareholder vote on the Disney-Fox merger, is roughly 17%.

"It's really a question of: How much do they want it?" said Sarah Simon, a media analyst at Berenberg.

Comcast said it lost 96,000 video subscribers in the March quarter vs. 42,000 a year earlier.

As it weighs big deals, Comcast is continuing to invest in areas to help its existing business offset the challenges of traditional TV.

Comcast is rolling out its gigabit broadband service in Atlanta, the first city to get its service.

Sky shares rose 4.1 percent to 13.62 pounds by 1107 GMT - well above the offer price, implying that some shareholders anticipated a bidding war. Comcast said that the National Football League championship game in February and the Olympics accounts for $1.6 billion of the revenue.

Fox is now expected to up its offer to Sky. With all the family ties, Sky created a committee of independent directors to evaluate the offers. On Wednesday, Comcast offered similar assurances. It pledged on Wednesday to maintain investment in Sky News for 10 years, and ensure the division's editorial independence.