Comcast offers $31 billion for Sky, going head-to-head with Fox

Alicia Cross
April 26, 2018

For its part, 21st Century Fox also issued a statement regarding the announcement on Wednesday, in which it maintained that the company is "committed to its recommended cash offer for Sky announced on 15th December 2016 and is now considering its options".

21st Century Fox, meanwhile, said Wednesday it remained committed to buying all of Sky.

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".

The bid is yet to be given the backing of the Sky board, which is being advised by PJT Partners, Morgan Stanley and Barclays, but Comcast said it was in talks with the Sky Independent Committee "with a view to obtaining a future recommendation of the acquisition".

U.S. media conglomerate Comcast's threat to disrupt 21 Century Fox's takeover of Sky (SKY) is a reality as it makes its £12.50 per share cash bid official. 21 Century Fox now holds a 39% stake in the operator. But with Comcast offering so much more money for Sky, those offers may be moot. "Given how frustrated Comcast was following their original interest in Fox being ignored, our gut sense is that Comcast is hoping their Sky proposal opens a larger conversation with Fox", said BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield in a recent report.

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Sky's shares rose 3.9 percent on Tuesday, closing at 13.59 pounds, above Comcast's offer, implying that some shareholders anticipated a bidding war.

Comcast said it was "delighted" to be formalising its bid for Sky, for which it had secured a bridge loan of up to 16 billion pounds and a term loan credit agreement of up to 7 billion pounds.

Not acquire any majority interest in United Kingdom newspapers for five years.

Comcast said its bid came with a series of legally binding commitments on Sky ownership and United Kingdom investment. Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand.

That undertaking was anticipated to ameliorate any concerns over plurality, although the Fox-Disney deal remains under the scrutiny of United States regulators. Walt Disney Co., which is in the process of buying Fox, has signaled it would be interested in buying Sky to neutralize Murdoch's critics. Sky was expected to have become part of the Mouse House if the former deal goes ahead.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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