Sky pulls support for Murdoch bid as Comcast confirms $31 billion offer

Sky pulls support for Murdoch bid as Comcast confirms $31 billion offer

Sky pulls support for Murdoch bid as Comcast confirms $31 billion offer

Walt Disney Co., which is in the process of buying Fox, has signaled it would be interested in buying Sky to neutralize Murdochs critics.

Comcast is using Tulchan Communications to handle its $31B offer to buy Sky, European pay TV operator, setting up a potential bidding war with 21Century Fox.

American communications company Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) announced on Wednesday that they will be offering a bid to purchase the UK-based communications and entertainment company, Sky PLC (LSE:SKY.L)...

Comcast lost out to Disney in December when Fox rejected its bid, which was 16% higher, according to a Fox regulatory filing last week. Fox has to at least match Comcast's offer, but analysts estimate a final winning bid could go as high as 14 to 15 pounds per share.

The bid is yet to be given the backing of the Sky board, which is being advised by PJT Partners, Morgan Stanley and Barclays, but Comcast said it was in talks with the Sky Independent Committee "with a view to obtaining a future recommendation of the acquisition".

Shares of Comcast went up by almost 3% on Wednesday already reaching a high of $34.78 after closing on Tuesday at $33.35.

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

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Comcast announced its intention to launch a bid for Sky in February, gatecrashing 21st Century Fox's planned £18.5 billion takeover.

The Comcast offer values Sky at £22 billion ($31 billion), roughly £3 billion ($4.2 billion) more than Murdoch's bid.

The Murdochs' bid for total control of Sky - in the works for almost a decade - has been tripped up repeatedly by concerns of British regulators and officials over the Murdochs' record at the other media properties they control.

"Comcast believes that, combined, Comcast and Sky will create a business equipped to compete more effectively in a rapidly changing and highly competitive industry", the company said.

Comcast pledged to keep several of Sky's assets like Sky News and maintain its corporate headquarters in the UK.

The deal has been held up by concerns about the influence Murdoch could wield over public opinion through owning all of the broadcaster as well as British newspapers including The Times and The Sun.

Fox is now expected to up its offer to Sky.

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