A bidding war for Sky, including Sky News, is underway as US giant Comcast has raised its offer for the UK broadcaster in response to 21st Century Fox’s increased bid.
Comcast, which owns NBC and Universal, is now offering £26bn for Sky – up from its initial £22bn bid. Fox raised its bid from £11.7bn to £24.5bn only yesterday.
Comcast’s new offer values Sky shares at £14.75 each. Fox’s puts them at £14 each.
Comcast’s increased “superior cash offer” has been recommended by Sky’s Independent Committee of Directors as the preferred bid.
A Comcast spokesperson said: “Comcast has long admired Sky and believes it is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast.
“Today’s announcement further underscores Comcast’s belief and its commitment to owning Sky.”
Comcast’s bid has already been approved by the UK Government without caveats. Fox’s offer has today received backing on the condition that it sells off Sky News – currently Disney is lined up to buy it.
Comcast has previously pledged to to maintain Sky News’ “existing brand and culture”, as well as its “strong track record for high-quality impartial news and adherence to broadcasting standards”.
Comcast has said it expects to be able to complete the purchase of Sky before the end of October this year.
Comcast chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts said: “We are pleased to be announcing a recommended increased offer for Sky today.
“We have long admired Sky which we believe is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast.
“Today’s announcement further underscores this belief and our commitment to owning Sky. We will be posting our offer document to Sky shareholders shortly.”
Martin Gilbert, deputy chairman of Sky, added: “The Independent Committee welcomes this increased offer which presents an attractive premium for Sky Shareholders to the current alternative offer for the Company.
“We have long recognized the unique position that Sky occupies in the European direct-to-consumer landscape and unanimously recommend this offer by Comcast.”
Picture: Reuters/Mike Blake