Hot on the heels of Disney’s bid last December to buy the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s business, which includes its stake in Sky, another media giant has entered the arena making an alternative offer to purchase Sky.
US cable TV giant Comcast has made a £22.1bn bid for Sky, challenging an existing offer from 21st Century Fox.
Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox had already agreed an £18.5bn deal to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own.
This offer was referred to the Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA) who provisionally ruled it would not be in the public interest. The final CMA Report will be delivered to the Culture Secretary by 1st May and he will have 30 days to consider his decision.
Comcast is a US multinational media and telecommunications giant. Its cable TV business is one of the largest in the US, and Comcast Cable also sells internet and phone services. It owns NBCUniversal, which has news, entertainment and sports cable networks such as NBC and CNBC, as well as film giant Universal Pictures. Dreamworks Animation, which has made films including Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda, is a subsidiary of Universal Pictures.
The reason Comcast want to buy Sky is because it would give them access to pay-tv in the UK, Germany and Italy and a presence in Spain, expanding their business beyond the US. This could well make 21st Century Fox’s bid redundant and any counter bid would have to be approved by Disney. Analysts are saying that Comcast’s bid may very well succeed as it would be attractive to the regulators as there would be no media plurality issue and shareholders would benefit. If Comcast are successful it would also give them an advantage against their competitors.
It would seem there may be more twists and turns ahead before we know who has won this media battle of the giants.
6th March 2018