tiptrot.com July 17, 2018

Comcast makes formal bid of £22 billion for Sky

26 April 2018, 06:48 | Cedric Leonard

Comcast launches rival £22 billion bid for Sky

Sky pulls support for Rupert Murdoch bid as Comcast confirms $31bn cash offer

The offer also establishes Comcast's intent to maintain Sky's United Kingdom headquarters at its Osterly campus. Investors expecting a higher bid from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox, with backing from Walt Disney boss Bob Iger, are betting on the triumph of sentiment over spreadsheet.

Sky's statement said: "At this time, the independent committee notes that both offers are subject to pre-conditions and neither offer is now capable of being put to shareholders".

On Wednesday's earning call with investors Roberts said that Comcast loves its position of being both an owner and distributor of content and is impressed by continued momentum in Sky's business, which is a company that looks very similar to Comcast.

The offer marks yet another twist in the takeover saga, which began in December 2016 when Fox made its latest controversial bid to take full control of the group. CMCSA 2.73% bid due to regulatory risk concerns.

A deal for Sky would expand Comcast's worldwide footprint to "more effectively compete in the rapidly changing and intensely competitive entertainment and communications landscape", the cable giant previously said.

Comcast shares opened 0.51% lower at $33.18. The company lost 96,000 video subscribers, compared with an estimate for a 60,800 drop. This was its fourth consecutive quarter of subscriber losses. "It has great people and a very strong and capable management team". TCI's next disclosure of its holdings likely would come in a May filing. As of December, TCI also was among the top holders of Comcast shares, with a 1.5% stake, according to FactSet.

Roberts said Comcast had been built through bold investments since it was founded by his father in 1963.

Mr. Hohn declined to comment on his stake in Fox. To get regulatory approval for that takeover, the companies have agreed that Fox would sell Sky News to Disney. 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. It has expanded its "X1" smart-video platform, raised internet speeds and launched a new wireless cellphone service.

Comcast stock rose 3% TO $34.34, while 21CF rose 2% to $36.78 in USA trading. Revenue grew 11% to $22.79 billion.

NBCUniversal's parent company confirmed that its all-cash offer was, as previously signaled, for £12.50 per share, which is a 16 percent premium to Fox's existing bid of £10.75 per share.

Although this may have started a bidding war, Sky was quick to respond to the announcement of Comcast's offer.

The offer comes over a year after Fox made its initial bid to take control of the 61% of Sky that it doesn't already own in a £11.7bn deal, which has faltered, however, after United Kingdom regulator the Competition and Markets Authority found it was not in the public interest, citing concerns over media plurality.

Murdoch's British media assets, which include newspapers The Sun and The Times, already reach a third of the country's news consumers.

Fox is now expected to up its offer to Sky. On Wednesday, Comcast offered similar assurances.

Comcast has made a firm cash offer for Sky that values the pay TV operator at £22 billion (€25 billion), with a commitment to maintain annual expenditure on Sky News for at least 10 years and to establish an independent editorial board for the channel.

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