Comcast's Sky bid bolsters FTSE ahead of Fed comments


A bid from 21st Century Fox to acquire Sky has been challenged by United States cable company Comcast.

Analysts have already said that the Comcast deal is likely to go ahead - a higher bid is obviously much more attractive to Sky, and because "it would come with much lower regulatory risk". We would like to own the whole of Sky and we will be looking to acquire over 50% of the Sky shares.

23 million homes across Europe, had already agreed to be sold to Murdoch's 21st Century Fox but concerns over the Murdoch family's influence in Britain has delayed the take over.

Along with a 39% stake in Sky, Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, control three British newspapers - The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times - through News Corp. U.K.

"Sky and Comcast are a flawless fit: we are both leaders in creating and distributing content", Comcast Chief Executive Officer Brian L. Roberts, 58, said.

He also described Sky as an "outstanding company" and said he was "confident" Comcast's offer would be approved by regulators. "We look at Sky as a media company", rather than a satellite TV distributor.

Speaking to investors this morning moments after its audacious offer to usurp 21st Century Fox's bid, Comcast chiefs admitted that it was a "unique moment given all of the proposals in play".

Sky declined to comment while representatives for Fox and Disney didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. £13 plus is now the marker which may be too much for Disney and/or Sky.

Murdoch has made further concessions to his bid and has said he will ensure Sky would be run and operated independently for the next ten years.

The proposed cash offer - which translates to £22 billion - values each Sky share at £12.50, representing a 16% percent premium to the rival bid made by Murdoch's 21st Century Fox. The company's management issued a statement advising shareholders to take no action as Comcast had not yet made a firm offer. If the deal were to happen, Comcast would also gain a multi-national OTT presence with Now TV, which just launched a new streaming stick for the contract-free service.

And Comcast, which in December dropped an attempt to acquire 21st Century Fox, is considering relaunching that bid, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Comcast already has NBC Universal film and TV assets, but the deal "would give it a very powerful distribution pan-European network", Liberum said.

Sky's headquarters in London are shown.

"I believe there are many opportunities on the English-speaking content side to work together", said Roberts.

The Comcast bid is the latest move in complicated, four-way deal talks that have been under way for more than a year between, first, Fox and Sky, then Fox and Disney and, separately, Fox and Comcast.

MoffettNathan analyst Craig Moffett called the bid a mix of good and bad news for share holders.

Comcast bid $60 billion previous year to clinch a deal with Murdoch's Fox before losing out to Disney.