Sky Withdraws Recommendation of Fox Takeover After Comcast Offer

John Phillips  Getty Images

John Phillips Getty Images

European broadcaster Sky Plc withdrew its recommendation for the 21st Century Fox bid following the rival all-cash offer from Comcast, Bloomberg News reported. (CMCSA) announced its pre-conditional superior cash offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sky plc (BSY.L, SKY.L).

It is now up to media billionaire Rupert Murdoch to decide whether to increase Fox's bid to stave off Comcast's challenge.

Comcast said it intends to give binding undertakings to maintain safeguards for the protection of Sky News's editorial independence for ten years.

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The US cable behemoth Comcast has declared a bidding war with 21st Century Fox and Disney for control of Sky by making a formal bid for Britain's dominant pay-TV operator. The offer is at a 16 percent premium to Fox's 10.75 pound-per-share bid for Sky.

In January, a United Kingdom regulator advised that the government should block the Fox bid to buy the remaining 61% of Sky because it would give one family - the Murdochs - too much control over media in Britain.

Fox has already agreed on paper to sell its stake in Sky to Disney as part of a $52.4 billion (£37.5 billion) package of film and TV assets. Comcast's deal values Sky at £22.1 billion ($30.9 billion).

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After Comcast lodged its offer, Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky, said it is committed to its bid and it is weighing its options.

Sky is known in Europe for its live football (soccer in the US) broadcasts as well as for premium content such as HBO's "Game of Thrones" and in-house productions such as "Fortitude" and "Britannia". The company now anticipates that the acquisition will complete before the end of 2018. Comcast expects the acquisition to generate annual run-rate synergies of around $500 million.

"We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast", Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in a statement. "Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand".

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A woman walks past the NBC and Comcast logos on 30 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan in NY, U.S., February 27, 2018.

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