Comcast® Emerges as the Winning Bidder in the Auction for Sky plc

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Comcast® has defeated 21st Century Fox in the bidding for Sky plc in an auction held recently to decide the British broadcaster’s fate. The Philadelphia-based telecommunications company bid £17.28 per share, which bettered Fox’s £15.67 a share offer, said the Takeover Panel of Britain. Acquiring Sky plc will make Comcast® the largest pay TV operator in the world with about 52 million subscribers. The company has had its eye on Sky plc as it saw declines in customers for standard cable TV, as audiences switched to VoD services.

“This is a great day for Comcast®,” said Comcast’s Chairman and CEO, Brian Roberts. “This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.”

The bid of Comcast® thwarted Rupert Murdoch’s ambition to get full control of Sky plc. It also happens to be a setback for Walt Disney, which would have possibly been its eventual owner. Walt Disney has consented a separate deal to acquire most of the TV and film assets of 21st Century Fox, comprising its existing stake in Sky plc, and would have taken ownership of the broadcaster after a successful takeover of Fox.

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The final offer of Comcast® was a jump on the bid of Fox going into the recent auction. The cable giant believed it had to outbid 21st Century Fox, as Fox’s existing stake in the broadcaster gave it a fair chance of winning if its bid was just shy of Comcast’s. However, the final bid of the fastest internet provider won the backing of the pay TV group’s independent directors.

“We are focused on drawing this process to a successful and swift close and therefore urge shareholders to accept the recommended Comcast® offer,” the Chairman of Sky plc’s Independent Committee, Martin Gilbert, said.

The Philly-based cable giant that required more than 50 percent share of Sky plc’s equity to get control of it said it was seeking to acquire the market shares of the broadcaster. The auction was a culmination to a bidding war waged since this February, which was when Comcast® gatecrashed 21st Century Fox’s takeover of Sky plc.

The CEO of Sky plc Jeremy Darroch said the deal is the start of a fresh chapter. “Sky has never stood still, and with Comcast® our momentum will only increase.”

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