Comcast has triumphed over 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney in the auction for Sky with a £30.6bn bid in a deal that will redraw the global media landscape. Comcast’s £17.28 a share bid beat a rival £15.67 a share bid from Fox, which was backed by Disney, and came in the third and final round of an auction when each bidder was asked to make their best offer for the broadcaster. The Comcast offer values Sky at almost £4bn more than the Disney-Fox bid
Rupert Murdoch’s control of Sky is likely to end after three decades after his 21st Century Fox company was outbid by US rival Comcast, which offered £30bn to take full control of the British-based broadcaster in a high-stakes auction.
The announcement on Saturday that Comcast has emerged on top was made after both companies submitted blind bids in a highly unusual process overseen by the Takeover Panel following a two-year bidding process. Comcast bid at £17.28 per share, substantially more than Fox’s £15.67 offer.
Murdoch has craved full control of Sky for years and his Fox company already owns 39% of the company. But Murdoch has agreed to sell most of his TV and film assets to Disney in a separate takeover deal, meaning even if he had been victorious he would not have been in total control for long.
The auction of Sky involved a certain amount of game theory on both sides. Fox’s decision to take part in the secretive process may have forced Comcast to table a knockout bid to ensure victory – meaning Fox will in turn receive an increased sum for the 39% stake it already owns. There is also an element of revenge after Comcast was beaten by Disney earlier this year in the battle for Fox’s US entertainment business.