Comcast has gatecrashed Rupert Murdoch’s takeover of Sky with a rival £22bn offer, sparking a bidding war for Britain’s biggest pay-TV broadcaster.
The media and telecoms company, which owns NBC Universal and is the largest cable operator in the US, has made an all-cash offer of £12.50 a share, a 16% premium on the offer from Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which values Sky at about £19bn.
Fox owns 39% of Sky and submitted its bid to take full control in December 2016, but the deal has been delayed by regulatory issues.
Comcast has made its move on Sky after having an offer for 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, which include Sky and the Deadpool to the X-Men Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox, spurned by Murdoch last year.
Murdoch agreed a $66bn (£47bn) sale to US rival Disney but this has been held up, as Fox’s own deal for Sky continues to be scrutinised by the UK competition regulator over issues including media plurality concerns.
The UK takeover panel ruled this month that after Disney completes its Fox deal it must make a full takeover bid for Sky, even if the competition regulator quashes Murdoch’s attempt to buy the 61% he doesn’t already own.