Sunday, 20 May, 2018

Comcast Makes Formal Sky Offer

John Phillips  Getty Images John Phillips Getty Images
Lindsey Cook | 26 April, 2018, 12:47

In January, a United Kingdom regulator advised that the government should block the Fox bid to buy the remaining 61% of Sky because it would give one family - the Murdochs - too much control over media in Britain.

"We are delighted to be formalizing our offer for Sky today", said Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

As part of its post-offer assurances, Comcast confirmed plans to establish a Sky News board, which will be maintained for at least 10 years, as well as promising annual expenditure on Sky News will be at least equal to that of the past financial year.

Comcast confirmed its bid at £12.50 a share, as first proposed in its approach two months ago, which marks a 16% increase on the £10.75 a share offered by Fox to buy the 61% of Sky is does not already own.

Shares of Comcast went up by almost 3% on Wednesday already reaching a high of $34.78 after closing on Tuesday at $33.35. Nevertheless, investors who pushed Sky shares up 4 percent to 13.57 pounds on Wednesday are wagering on Disney and Fox disregarding financial sense. "We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast. Comcast is gaming out the possibility of making a public case to the company's shareholders that they should reject the Disney deal, which is expected to come to a vote this summer, and opt for a Comcast tie-up instead, people familiar with the situation say".

Comcast also said it will give legally-binding commitments to maintain editorial independence at Sky News.

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But British regulators aren't so keen on allowing Murdoch to buy the company, which would give him too much control of the United Kingdom media and is therefore "not in the public interest", the Competition and Markets Authority said earlier this year.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in February that it was minded to block the deal because it concentrated too much influence over the United Kingdom media industry in the hands of the Murdoch Family Trust - the vehicle by which Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, owns a controlling stake in both that company and in News Corporation, owner of The Sun, the UK's top-selling national newspaper. Disney struck a deal to buy most of its entertainment properties, including its stake in Sky. The stock closed up nearly 4 percent at £13.59.

"The group looks on course to deliver operating profits of £1.5bn this year, double what it earned 10years ago".

On Wednesday, Sky also welcomed commitments the US cable giant had made to address potential public-interest concerns over Sky News, its influential 24-hour news channel.

Fox said on Wednesday that it remained committed to its offer and was considering its options.

That is because Comcast has a minimal United Kingdom media market presence.

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