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All Eyes On Sky: Comcast's $31 Billion Offer Could Trigger Bidding War

01 March 2018

One of the top ten shareholders in Sky has welcomed Comcast's surprise bid to hijack 21st Century Fox's planned £18.5 billion takeover of the pay-TV broadcaster, as the City prepares for a bidding war.

Shares in Sky surged Tuesday upon the announcement of Comcast's interest.

Comcast, which has a broadband arm serving 29 million USA customers, said global revenues would surge by between 9 per cent and 25 per cent if the deal goes ahead.

In December, Sky Vision, run by Jane Millichip, partnered with Issa Rae, star of HBO's Insecure, to pitch a dystopian sci-fi series The Awoken to broadcasters.

NBC and Universal Pictures owner Comcast has made a £22.1 billion takeover approach for Sky in an attempt to trump 21st Century Fox's efforts to seize full control of the United Kingdom broadcaster.

Comcast's offer is the latest in a frenzied period of media giants attempting to buy one another, as traditional television and film companies face growing competition with tech giants.

Analysts eyed even higher offers. Then when we went to the Sky store, we spent at least an hour going through every feature and comparing it to our own. Will Disney be content with acquiring Fox without Sky?

It recommended blocking the deal, a sale of Sky's news channel or ensuring the editorial independence of its reporters.

Not so fast on the Walt Disney Co.'s proposed $52 billion deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox's assets, including 22 regional sports networks such as the Yankees' YES Network.

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21st Century Fox restarted takeover plans at the end of 2o16 but has repeatedly run up against regulatory hurdles.

In a prepared statement, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts praised Sky's strong positions in markets like Italy, Germany, and the U.K., "Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe", Roberts said.

"The UK is and will remain a great place to do business".

Spotify Vice President of Business Development Jorge Espinel said: "Spotify and Sky share a focus on innovation, disruption and delivering an excellent experience to our customers".

Comcast said it planned to keep Sky headquartered in Osterley, would maintain its staffing levels, and would invest in creating more high-quality content. Roberts said Comcast thought the Sky deal could increase the U.S. giant's worldwide revenue to 25% of sales from 9%.

Cramer attributed Disney's stock decline to the forced-hand scenario: now that Comcast has thrown its hat in the ring, Disney will likely have to pay more for Sky if it wants to maintain the terms of its deal with Fox.

It's now thought Disney could make its own counter bid in order to buy Sky outright, which would put the proposed deal with Fox in jeopardy.

"The bad (news) is that the underlying technology here is satellite, and Comcast will have to twist themselves into knots to explain why satellite distribution won't be just as obsolete in Europe as it already is in the U.S.", Moffett wrote in a research note.

Comcast added that it did not believe its offer "should create any media plurality concerns in the UK".

All Eyes On Sky: Comcast's $31 Billion Offer Could Trigger Bidding War