Comcast challenges Murdoch with offer to buy Sky

Comcast challenges Murdoch with offer to buy Sky

The US cable TV giant Comcast has gatecrashed Rupert Murdoch's troubled bid to buy the whole of Sky with a £22.1bn offer of its own.

U.S. broadcaster Comcast has put forward a proposal to buy Sky, raising the prospect of a bidding war for the European TV provider with 21st Century Fox.

Comcast Corp, the biggest cable operator in the United States, has offered to pay US$31 billion to buy Sky PLC, the European pay-TV group that Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc has already agreed to buy. It's also trying to buy the 61 percent of Sky it doesn't already own. That means Fox's 39 percent stake will not be enough to block the deal. It also owns broadcaster NBC and Universal Pictures.

21st Century Fox proposed Sky takeover faces a setback.

Comcast has made a higher offer for Sky than the one that has already been accepted from 21 Century Fox.

"The notion that Comcast might make a topping bid for Fox has weighed heavily on Comcast shares, which have entirely missed the market rebound in the days since their continued interest was first reported".

In response to the Comcast bid, Sky's share price surged to £13.55 on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which closed slightly down overall.

Comcast reckons its expertise funneling television shows, sports and movies directly to homes makes it a better owner for Sky. Fox said in a statement it remains committed to its offer for Sky.

Comcast had itself been in talks to buy parts of Fox, so its bid for Sky could be a more direct way to acquire media assets in Europe, analysts say.

Part of what makes Sky attractive to USA companies wishing to expand in Europe is that it is an established brand across several countries in the region, where people are often used to paying monthly fees for pay TV.

Shares of both Comcast and Disney declined on the news.

Mr Roberts said Comcast was prepared to co-own Sky with either Fox or Disney, as long as Comcast held a majority stake. "We respect that maybe they don't want to sell, but that will be something discussed further down the line".

Sky's shares have risen 21 percent on news of the bidding war, as Comcast's proposal of $17.34 a share is much higher than Fox's offer of $14.91 a share.

He also pledged to support for an independent Sky News, the loss-making channel which is the subject of regulatory scrutiny over its long-term future under the Fox deal.

Comcast Corporation, owner of CNBC and Universal Pictures, has announced in a press release that the firm has presented a USA $31 billion offer to acquire Sky.

Sky investors owe a big thank you to a store employee near the group's London head office.

The satellite TV company has 23M customers, mainly in the UK, Italy and Germany.

Comcast said it had not yet engaged with Sky over the proposal and almost 90 minutes after the statement came out, Sky was yet to respond.

The media mogul is reported widely to have a strong affection and friendship with USA president Donald Trump with whom he is said to have weekly telephone communications.

"Seeing it again, and listening to the passion of the sales and looking at the product. all those things combined to reinforce what a number of us have known for years - that this is a jewel".

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