NBC owner Comcast gate-crashes Fox's takeover of Sky with a £22 billion bid

21st Century Fox, which owns 40% of Sky, has been trying to buy the remaining stake since the end of 2016 but has faced repeated regulatory hurdles.

Comcast CEO and chairman Brian Roberts.
  • 21st Century Fox, which owns 40% of Sky, has been trying to buy the remaining stake since the end of 2016 but has faced repeated regulatory hurdles.
  • Comcast's offer is a 16% premium to 21st Century Fox's most recent bid.
  • Sky's board withdrew its support for a Fox bid in response to Comcast's offer.

LONDON — The US entertainment giant Comcast has made a £22 billion bid for Sky, gate-crashing Rupert Murdoch's takeover attempt for the British and European broadcaster.

Comcast on Wednesday said it was offering £12.50, or $17.45, a share for the company. The bid represents a 16% premium on the latest offer from Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. Comcast's deal values Sky at £22.1 billion ($30.9 billion).

Sky's board responded by withdrawing its recommendation for investors to approve Fox's December 2016 bid, which has been repeatedly hit by regulatory hurdles.

Comcast, which owns TV networks such as E! and NBC, as well as Universal Pictures, first announced plans to make a bid in February. It said the deal represented a "strategic opportunity to acquire a leading content and distribution business in the UK and Europe."

Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns 39.1% of Sky, which Murdoch helped found in the 1990s. Murdoch has long coveted the remaining 61%, with a previous £8 billion takeover attempt derailed by the News of the World phone-hacking scandal in 2011.

21st Century Fox restarted takeover plans at the end of 2o16, but it has repeatedly run up against regulatory hurdles. The UK's competition watchdog said in January that the deal would be "against the public interest," giving the Murdoch family what it considered too much control over UK media.

Fox has already agreed on paper to sell its stake in Sky to Disney as part of a $52.4 billion (£37.5 billion) package of film and TV assets. When the deal was announced, 21st Century Fox said it remained "committed to completing its proposed acquisition of the shares in Sky it does not own."

Comcast was one of the interested bidders in Fox's entertainment assets, according to multiple reports.

Comcast said it was planning to keep Sky headquartered in Osterley, would maintain its staffing levels, and would invest in creating more high-quality content. The company said it saw $500 million of synergies from the deal.

"We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast," Brian Roberts, the chairman and CEO of Comcast, said in a statement. "Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand. It is led by a terrific management team who we look forward to working with to build and grow this business."

21st Century Fox said in a statement it "remains committed" to its December 2016 bid but added that it was "currently considering its options."

The boutique London firm Robey Warshaw advised Comcast on the offer along with the investment banks Evercore and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

Recommended articles

Amazing transformation of 21-year-old man bullied for being born different (video)

Amazing transformation of 21-year-old man bullied for being born different (video)

Abel Mutua's movie makes over Sh4M in 5 days

Abel Mutua's movie makes over Sh4M in 5 days

Sh79,000 per month jobs for Kenyans without degrees

Sh79,000 per month jobs for Kenyans without degrees

How Janet Mbugua's husband Eddie landed Sh240 million deal with Chinese investors

How Janet Mbugua's husband Eddie landed Sh240 million deal with Chinese investors

5 things you should never do to please a woman

5 things you should never do to please a woman

British MP claims she didn't know her flat was owned by the Kenyatta family

British MP claims she didn't know her flat was owned by the Kenyatta family

Janet Mbugua's husband thrown at the centre of nasty fight at Ole Sereni Hotel [Video]

Janet Mbugua's husband thrown at the centre of nasty fight at Ole Sereni Hotel [Video]

Tiwa Savage breaks silence after her raunchy tape leaked online [Screenshot]

Tiwa Savage breaks silence after her raunchy tape leaked online [Screenshot]

Diamond Platnumz splashes Sh5.2 Million on new Gold & Diamonds Chain [Video]

Diamond Platnumz splashes Sh5.2 Million on new Gold & Diamonds Chain [Video]