Comcast has made a firm cash offer for Sky that values the pay TV operator at £22 billion (€25 billion), with a commitment to maintain annual expenditure on Sky News for at least 10 years and to establish an independent editorial board for the channel.
"Comcast kicked off a bidding war for Sky Plc by formalizing its 21.5 billion pound ($30 billion) offer for Britain's largest pay-TV company, throwing down the gauntlet to Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Co.", reports Bloomberg.
Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said the company had set an acceptance condition of 50% plus one share, and that he hoped Sky's independent directors would recommend the proposal.
United States cable TV giant Comcast has made a formal £22bn bid for Sky that values the UK broadcaster at £12.50 a share. As a result of the higher offer, Sky said that it has withdrawn its recommendation to its shareholders of the 21st Century Fox bid, and is terminating its Co-operation Agreement with 21st Century Fox, entered on the date of the Fox offer.
Sky said it was withdrawing its recommendation for the Fox bid following Comcast's move.
21st Century Fox has offered to insulate Sky's news operations from the influence of Murdoch and his family, who already own several other media titles in the United Kingdom, to win approval of its bid.
It will also establish a Sky News editorial board to ensure the channel's independence, keep the United Kingdom headquarters in Osterley for five years and not acquire any majority interest in British newspapers for five years.
Sky is based in London and has pay-TV operations across Europe, offering a platform for US companies such as Comcast and Fox to expand overseas. The Comcast offer stands at £12.50 per share, as per its initial notice of a potential offer in late February. "Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand". Sky will be our platform for growth across Europe.
Roberts said he did not see any material issues with securing regulatory approval for the deal.
Since Rupert Murdoch's Fox made an approach to snap up the 61% of Sky it did not already own in December 2016, the deal has been and remains the subject of regulatory scrutiny.