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Comcast outbids 21st Century Fox for Sky

Comcast outbids 21st Century Fox for Sky

Comcast Corporation has outbid 21st Century Fox to take control of Sky, valuing the company at $39 billion.

A banker from one of Britain's leading boutique advisory firms pressed the button on Comcast's (CMCSA.O) knockout $40 billion bid for broadcaster Sky (SKYB.L). Mr Murdoch, at a December briefing about the Disney takeover, said that if "anything goes wrong [with the Sky takeover] the existing shares would go to Disney" and "it'll be up to them what to do".

Both companies were vying for 61% control of Sky. Sky is in good financial shape, paying less for football rights than it has in the past, and there is potential for other content to be shared across the wider Comcast group. Should Comcast complete the transaction, Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts will have a chance to build a global television giant, helping stave off the threat from Netflix Inc.

"Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand and accomplished management team", he said in a statement.

A couple of years ago Comcast could have bought Netflix for US$50 billion - a company that today is capitalised at more than US$150 billion.

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The future of Sky has been hanging in the balance for more than eight years. With Sky, the Philadelphia-based company would deliver TV services to 52 million customers in the U.S. as well as European countries such as UK, Italy and Germany, and add sought-after programming such as the rights to Premier League English soccer. Now, Disney will need to decide whether it will sell it's 39 per cent stake to Comcast, or if it will remain a minority partner, latimes.com reported.

Crucially for Comcast, Sky has a growing video-streaming business.

Buying Sky will make Philadephia-based Comcast, which owns the NBC network and Universal Pictures, the world's largest pay-TV operator with around 52 million customers. While Comcast acquired NBCUniversal and DreamWorks Animation over the past decade, it failed in attempts to buy Disney in 2004, Time Warner Cable in 2015 and Fox in July.

Disney would "have to take as a consolation prize that Fox's position in Sky will end up worth much more than when Disney originally agreed to buy it", meaning selling the stake will free up extra capital. The loss of Sky partly stymies Disney CEO Bob Iger's goal of establishing more direct ties to consumers and expanding his global business. "Sky has never stood still, and with Comcast our momentum will only increase", he said.

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