US: Comcast set to raise the stakes with US$39b Sky bid


Comcast is expected to submit a formal £22 billion (US$39 billion) takeover bid for Sky this week, laying the ground for a bidding war for Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster, reported The Times.

Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive of the giant American cable company, has until Friday, July 13, to publish the terms of its £12.50-a share-offer (US$16.56). When he does, it will start the clock ticking for 21st Century Fox, the American entertainment conglomerate that has offered US$11.80 a share to buy the 61% of Sky that it does not already own. Under Britain’s takeover rules, the owner of the 20th Century Fox film studio will be given a further 28 days to top Comcast’s offer.

Culture secretary Matt Hancock’s clearing of the deal is expected to be conditional on Fox selling Sky News, most likely to Disney, and promising to make up any shortfall in funding for the service to maintain its budget for the next 15 years.

The culture secretary’s clearance is expected to follow the closing on the consultation period on the deal last Wednesday, July 4, unless there are any further calls for new remedies to be considered.

Hancock said in June that the improved commitment from Fox around Sky News met the criteria he had set out covering Sky News’ viability over the long term, its continued its existence as a major UK news provider and its continued editorial independence.

Full Content: The Times

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