Comcast beats Fox in £30 billion battle for Sky

Adding Sky would mean Comcast generates a fourth of its sales outside of the US up from 9% now

Adding Sky would mean Comcast generates a fourth of its sales outside of the US up from 9% now

USA cable giant Comcast bid £17.28 a share for control of London-listed Sky during the auction, bettering £15.67 a share offer by Fox, the Takeover Panel said in a statement shortly after final bids were made today.

The auction was a dramatic climax to a transatlantic bidding battle waged since February, when Comcast gate-crashed Fox's takeover of Sky. Sky shareholders will have to approve Comcast's offer.

"This is a great day for Comcast", Roberts said in a statement.

"Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team", Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast, said.

'This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally. Comcast would also win a rare opportunity to diversify beyond the U.S. and gain global scale to compete with video streaming giant Netflix.

Comcast has won the long-running battle for control of Sky after beating Fox with a £30 billion bid for the broadcaster.

Murdoch made his first determined attempt to take over Sky in 2010-11. "The British government also raised questions about whether the complete acquisition of Sky would put too much media power in Murdoch's hand".

Then in July, Disney muscled Comcast aside with a $71-billion deal for Fox that brought it franchises such as the X-Men and hit shows like The Simpsons.

Thanks to the growth of Netflix and Amazon that are also rapidly spreading their tentacles offshore, the deckchairs on the United States media titanic will continue to move around.

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Sky's independent directors have recommend Comcast's bid to shareholders, urging them to accept the offer immediately.

The regulator, the Takeover Panel, set up the auction to reduce uncertainty for Sky. Comcast wants to grow its operations in Europe.

And Disney was looking for a way it could feed its content directly to viewers without having to rely on cable providers.

The only feature favouring both Sky TV and Foxtel for that matter is their extensive sport packages.

Fox and Comcast were only allowed to make fixed-price cash bids in sterling.

Comcast operates a more integrated model in the USA which includes cable broadband, telephony and free to air television along certain parts of the East Coast.

Disney's empire stretches from its film studio and theme parks to the U.S. television network ABC and the various ESPN sports channels.

"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.

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