Comcast bid for Sky: Comcast, the US cable TV firm, has made a £22.1 billion for Sky against the £18.5 billion bid made by 21st Century Fox owned by Rupert Murdoch. The Fox bid was to purchase the 61% of Sky that Fox did not already own. The bid resulted in an 18% rise in Sky shares in early trading in London.
Murdoch Bid For Sky Against Public Interest
The UK competition authority had provisionally found last month that the Fox bid would be against the public interest because it would give Murdoch too much control over UK media. Similar issues were raised by Ofcom in June last year. The Comcast bid may be viewed upon more favorably by UK authorities. The Murdochs or the Murdoch Family Trust may have the potential to exert too much control over British public opinion, and through that, over UK politics.
Comcast Bid for Sky Higher Than Fox’s
Comcast is the largest cable TV company in the US. Among its holdings are Universal Pictures and the NBC cable TV network. The company is making its bid because it says it “wants to use Sky as a platform for our growth in Europe”. Comcast’s bid is 16% higher than the bid made by Fox. The company is looking to acquire over 50% of Sky shares.
A significant complication to this offer is that Walt Disney had agreed in December to purchase most of Fox’s business. That included Fox’s existing 39% of Sky shares. Should that deal be completed, then Murdoch’s influence might be sufficiently diluted to change the view of the UK authorities to the Fox offer.
Interesting times, particularly since earlier in this month Sky won the bulk of the TV rights for the English Premier League for seasons 2019 to 2022. According to Comcast, winning the Premier League auction was a factor behind the offer, but not the major one. As if. . .
Comcast Bid For Sky May Succeed
Those in the know believe that the Comcast bid for Sky will succeed. It should appeal to many Sky shareholders, and also the UK government. The latter may see this as one acceptable solution to the political ramifications of the Murdochs acquiring Sky. It is highly unlikely that Fox will make any serious counterbid, given that it has already agreed to sell its stake in Sky to Disney. Unless, of course, Disney itself makes a bid for Sky.
When giants collide. . .