Comcast Outbids 21st Century Fox For Sky

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(RTTNews.com) - Comcast Corp. (CMCSK, CMCSA) offered 17.28 pounds per share in auction for Sky Plc (BSY.L, SKY.L), topping 21st Century Fox's (FOX, FOXA) bid at 15.67 pounds per share, the U.K. Takeover Panel said.

The Comcast offer values Sky at 29.7 billion pounds or $38.8 billion.

Comcast beat Rupert Murdoch's Fox in a rare auction process set by the UK'sTakeover Panel.

Brian Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast said, "This is a great day for Comcast....… We now encourage Sky shareholders to accept our offer, which we look forward to completing before the end of October 2018."

Sky has recommended its shareholders accept the bid, saying it was an "excellent outcome" and "represents materially superior value".

Meanwhile, Fox said it is considering its options regarding its own 39 percent shareholding in Sky and will make a further announcement in due course.

"Sky is a remarkable story and we are proud to have played such a significant role in building the incredible value reflected today in Comcast's offer," Fox said.

The winning bid represents a premium more than doubling Sky's value before Rupert Murdoch's Fox began its pursuit in December 2016. That's when Fox made an all-cash offer to buy the portion of Sky it didn't already own. Fox currently owns 39% of the British broadcaster.

Fox's initial offer for Sky came to 10.75 pounds per share. But after the offer hit several regulatory roadblocks, Comcast was enticed to try its might in expanding its global footprint. In February, the NBCUniversal owner made a surprise bid of 12.50 pounds per share, which Fox one-upped in July with an offer of 14 pounds per share. That same month, Comcast came back with a bid of 14.75 pounds, valuing Sky at $34 billion.

The process had been beset by regulatory issues amid concerns over media plurality and the degree of Mr Murdoch's influence over the UK media landscape.

Ultimately, Sky may be viewed as consolation prize for Comcast after it lost out to Walt Disney Co. (DIS) earlier this year for Fox's entertainment assets, for which Disney agreed to pay $71 billion, including a 39% stake in Sky that Fox had long held. That bigger deal is expected to close in coming months.

If Fox had won this weekend's auction for Sky, Disney would ultimately have taken 100% control of the pay TV company. Instead, attention turns to whether Disney will sell the 39% stake in Sky â€"especially now that its value was boosted by the weekend's bidding competitionâ€"or remain a minority partner for Comcast.

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