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Comcast Makes Formal $31 Billion Offer for Sky

Offer is 16% richer than that of 21st Century Fox

Comcast has made its offer for Sky official, tabling a $31 billion offer for the European pay-TV giant. Its offer represents a 16% premium to Sky shareholders over the existing bid from 21st Century Fox.

Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation, said: “We are delighted to be formalizing our offer for Sky today. We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast. Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand. It is led by a terrific management team who we look forward to working with to build and grow this business.”

Comcast is the parent of NBCUniversal and has a large U.S. pay-TV business. It will go head to head with Fox in the battle for European media heavyweight Sky. Fox, meanwhile, is weighing its options. “21CF remains committed to its recommended cash offer for Sky announced on 15th December 2016 and is currently considering its options. A further announcement will be made in due course,” Fox said in statement.

Fox has offered a series of concessions to get its offer over the line in the face of resistance from opponents concerned about the Murdoch-owned company owning the remainder of Sky — it already holds 39% of the pay-TV business. Comcast previously indicated it would move for a majority stake in Sky if its takeover bid is successful and Fox was not willing to sell.

Comcast matched a Fox commitment to keep funding the Sky News operation at the current level for at least a decade. Comcast also committed to an editorial board for Sky News for the same period, and to maintain Sky’s west London campus for five years.

“Comcast believes that, combined, Comcast and Sky will create a business equipped to compete more effectively in a rapidly changing and highly competitive industry,” the company said in a statement. “Together, the companies would be well positioned to drive growth to provide attractive returns to Comcast shareholders and to benefit the employees and customers of both organizations.”

Sky has yet to respond. It has been silent on the Comcast offer, although helping it through the regulatory process, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said last week.

The company, which has 23 million customers, mostly in the U.K., Germany, and Italy, had previously backed the Fox bid.

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