Friday, 19 October, 2018

Comcast Completes Acquisition of Fox's Sky Shares, Owns More than 75% Stake

James Murdoch’s departure ends his family’s association with the satellite television service James Murdoch’s departure ends his family’s association with the satellite television serviceBRYAN BEDDER GETTY IMAGES
Cary Erickson | 12 October, 2018, 18:30

United States giant Comcast last month won a bidding war for Sky when it offered £17.28 per share, beating a £15.67 valuation from 21st Century Fox in a rare auction process conducted by the UK's Takeover Panel.

Comcast won a blind auction for Sky in September beating Fox with a bid worth US$40bn. The move concludes a months long bidding war between the companies.

Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, had been one of Team Sky's staunchest supporters during their recent controversies.

Jeff Wlodarczack, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group, said with its acquisition of Sky, Comcast could soon have its hand on a platform that could directly compete with Netflix which has become the ultimate favorite for the younger crowd.

That remains to be seen but Team Sky are certainly thinking and acting long-term.

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Sky has recommended that any shareholders who hadn't accepted Comcast's offer yet, do so immediately.

Comcast said it will give 14 days to settle consideration on its mandatory offer, and if the company hits 90 percent acceptance of its offer for Sky shares, the cable giant will use a regulatory provision "to acquire compulsorily any Sky Shares not acquired or agreed to be acquired by or on behalf of Comcast Bidco pursuant to the mandatory offer".

The U.S. cable company is now the majority shareholder of Sky which enjoys nearly 23 million European viewers, owning more than 75 percent of the European satellite company's issued ordinary share capital. Roberts assured that Comcast will respect Sky New's editorial independence and preserve the organization's trusted name in delivering high quality and impartial news. "Separately, Sky News will benefit greatly from Comcast's funding commitments over the coming years and the arrangements that will be put in place to preserve and enhance its editorial independence".

Sky said there would now be applications to cancel its stock market listing and trading - and that this was expected to become effective on 7 November.

United Kingdom culture minister Jeremey Wright had urged Comcast to ensure the independence of Sky News.