Apr 25, 2018

Sky withdraws Fox bid recommendation after Comcast makes offer

Sky has withdrawn its recommendation of a bid from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox after Comcast made a formal £12.50-a-share offer that values the pan-European media company at £22bn. Sky ushered in the pay-television era when it was launched by Mr Murdoch in 1989 but has become a pawn in a global media power struggle between Comcast, the US's largest cable group, and Fox. Mr Murdoch's hopes of acquiring the Sky shares not already owned by Fox were dealt a blow when the independent committee formed to consider the offer, worth £10.75 a share, withdrew its recommendation of the deal. A "Co-operation agreement" between Sky and Fox has also been terminated by the committee, which means Fox will no longer be obliged to pay a £200m break fee. Its interest in Sky was seen by some analysts as an effort to disrupt Mr Murdoch's plans to sell to Disney - an important competitor of Comcast in the US. But in making a formal offer, Comcast has signalled that it is serious about acquiring Sky, analysts said. "This can no longer be seen as Comcast making a play for Sky as part of a bigger game of disrupting the sale of Fox assets to Disney in order to pick up certain Fox assets," said Ian Whittaker, analyst with Liberum.

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