In Brief

Comcast bids £22.1bn to buy Sky

US cable giant challenges 21st Century Fox’s offer for European broadcaster

Comcast, the largest cable operator in the US, has submitted a £22.1bn bid to buy Sky, challenging 21st Century Fox’s planned takeover of the company.

Comcast, which owns the NBC TV network and Universal Pictures, said it is offering an all-cash £12.50 per share, “a 16% increase on the existing offer from Fox”, says The Independent.

“We would like to own the whole of Sky and we will be looking to acquire over 50% of the Sky shares,” Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts said in a statement.

“We think that Sky would be very valuable to us as we look to expand our presence internationally.”

Following Comcast’s announcement, Sky’s shares rose almost 20%.

21st Century Fox, which currently owns 39% of Sky, submitted its proposal to take full control of the European pay-TV group in December 2016, but “the takeover has been repeatedly held up by regulatory concerns that Murdoch controls too much media in Britain”, says Reuters.

Last month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) provisionally ruled that Fox’s planned £10.75bn takeover would give the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT) too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda. MFT news outlets are currently consumed by nearly a third of the UK’s population across TV, radio, online and newspapers, according to the BBC.

Comcast pointed out that “it had only a minimal presence in the British media market and did not see any plurality concerns over its proposal”, says Reuters.

Roberts said Comcast would use Sky to further expand its European presence, reports the Financial Times.

Paul Richards, media analyst at Numis, told the Financial Times that the Comcast proposal was a “very strong competitive offer”. 

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