Comcast tables formal takeover bid for Sky

26 April 2018, 06:48 | Andres Norman

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A View Of The Comcast Center

The story adds: "Comcast's all-cash offer of 12.50 pounds a share [formalized] its proposal on February 27th at the same price, 16 percent above Fox's 10.75 pound-per-share bid for Sky".

Comcast's offer includes commitments to retaining the independence of Sky News and a pledge not to acquire any major interest in a United Kingdom newspaper for the next five years.

Comcast's CEO said in a statement: "We are delighted to be formalizing our offer for Sky today".

Comcast's offer comes just days before the May 1 deadline for the Competition and Markets Authority to give its final advice about the Fox bid to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock. The assets in the Disney-Fox deal, which is expected to come to a shareholder vote this summer, include the Twentieth Century Fox studio, cable networks and worldwide properties. But the company said it was "currently considering its options", and said it will make a further announcement "in due course".

Accompanying its offer, Comcast made a number of commitments on how it will run Sky, many of which match pledges previously made by Fox.

21st Century Fox made its offer in December of 2016 to purchase the 61% of the European pay TV giant that it didn't already own.

Sky's share price rose by over 4% following the announcement - significantly above the £12.50 per share offer by Comcast.

Murdoch withdrew a previous bid for Sky in 2012 amid fallout from the phone-hacking scandal, in which journalists at his newspapers gained illegal access to the voicemails of celebrities.

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The official Comcast offer sent Sky shares more than 2% higher - and above the Comcast bid, suggesting investors are positioning for a bidding war.

Shares in Sky were trading up 3 percent at 13.46 pounds at 1026 GMT.

Comcast has said that adding Sky to its business would increase worldwide revenues to 25% from 9%.

In a bid to head off any competition concerns, the group said it will not acquire a majority stake in any United Kingdom newspapers for five years. "It is led by a terrific management team who we look forward to working with to build and grow this business", Roberts added.

Comcast announced that they have put in a superior cash offer of approximately £12.50 per share for a total of £22.0 billion, or almost USA $30.6 million.

The bid, which will be financed by additional debt, is subject to regulatory approval and the support of over 50% of the voting rights of Sky shareholders.

Rupert Murdoch and one of his sons, Lachlan Murdoch, are Fox's two co-chairmen. Sky was expected to have become part of the Mouse House if the former deal goes ahead.

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