Comcast attempts to outbid Fox for Sky

Comcast is attempting to outbid 21st Century Fox and acquire UK broadcaster Sky with a £22bn ($31bn) offer.

The media and telecoms company, which owns NBCUniversal and Universal Parks and Resorts, said its all-cash offer provided Sky shareholders with a 16% premium on the offer from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

Fox owns 39% of Sky and submitted its bid for the other 61% in December 2016, but the deal has been held up by regulatory issues.

The bid opens a new avenue of competition between Comcast and Disney, which is currently in the process of acquiring the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox for $66bn (£47bn). It is expected that Sky would form part of this deal, should the Fox bid go through.

Comcast was reportedly considering outbidding Disney for the Fox assets, according to sources familiar with the matter, but has now shifted its focus to Sky.

Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, said: “We think Sky is an outstanding company. It has 23 million customers and leading positions in the UK, Italy, and Germany.

“Sky has been a consistent innovator in its use of technology to deliver a fantastic viewing experience and has a proud record of investment in news and programming. It has great people and a very strong and capable management team.”

Comcast plans to use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe, increasing its international revenues between 9% and 25%.

The company is prepared to co-own Sky with either Fox or Disney, as long as Comcast held a majority stake, but would prefer a complete purchase.