Comcast Taps Tulchan in Bid for Sky

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Comcast had already in February tabled an informal bid worth £22 billion. The morning announcement by Philadelphia-based Comcast spurred a series of rapid-fire responses.

Fox owns 39 per cent of Sky and submitted its bid to take full control in December 2016, but the deal has stuck amid regulatory issues.

In a move to address those concerns, the Comcast offer states the US company's intention to not acquire a majority interest in any newspapers in the United Kingdom for five years, and the establishment of a Sky News board that will ensure the editorial independence of Sky News for a 10-year period. Comcast's cash offer represents a 16 percent premium to the existing 21st Century Fox offer. "The contest pits Iger against Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, after Disney won over Comcast in an earlier battle for Fox".

The Fox-Sky deal has been held up by concerns about the influence Murdoch could wield over public opinion through owning all of the broadcaster as well as British newspapers including The Times and The Sun.

MoffettNathanson analysts told investors, who are likely upset about the bid when compared to alternatives like buying stock back, to also look at the signal the move sends.

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The bid, announced earlier Wednesday saw the withdrawal of support for the 21 Century Fox offer, as Sky seeks to engage with Comcast.

The markets think there will be one as shares are trading £1 higher than the Comcast bid.

"As a result of the announcement of this higher cash offer, the Independent Committee is withdrawing its recommendation of the offer announced by 21CF on 15 December 2016 ("21CF Offer") and is now terminating the Co-operation Agreement entered into with 21CF on the same date", Sky said in a statement. If he bought Sky, Murdoch would have "too much control over news providers in the United Kingdom across all media platforms and therefore too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda", the CMA said.

To address media plurality concerns, Fox had recently announced Disney would consider buying Sky News, even if its takeover of Fox's other assets didn't go through.

"We believe in the importance of news and the integrity that underpins it (and) we have a proven track record of stewardship and investment", he said.