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Comcast Beats 21st Century Fox in Auction Battle for Sky

Comcast Corporation announced today that the company has prevailed with the highest offer price in the auction to acquire Sky with an offer bid of £17.28 per Sky share, beating 21st Century Fox’s (with backer Disney) bid of £15.67 per share. Both companies were bidding for 61% control of Sky, as 21st Century Fox already owns 39% of the company.

The £17.28 per share price implies a value of $40.0 billion (£30.6 billion) for Sky and today’s announcement ends the competitive bidding process for the company, which has 23 million subscribers and operates in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and Italy.

Fox has been trying to take over the company fully since 2011. While it abandoned the effort that year due to a phone hacking scandal at News of the World, Fox put in a bid of £10.75 ($14.05) per share in December 2016. This eventually led to Comcast joining the fight, and with Disney buying 21st Century Fox, Disney became a backer of Fox trying to take over Sky.

Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said: “This is a great day for Comcast. Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team. This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally. We couldn’t be more excited by the opportunities in front of us. We now encourage Sky shareholders to accept our offer, which we look forward to completing before the end of October 2018.”

21st Century Fox issued the following statement: “We note the increased cash offer for the fully diluted share capital of Sky by Comcast, and that it has been recommended by the Independent Committee of Sky. 21CF is considering its options regarding its own 39 percent shareholding in Sky and will make a further announcement in due course. Sky is a remarkable story and we are proud to have played such a significant role in building the incredible value reflected today in Comcast’s offer.”

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