The future of Sky broadcasting company’s ownership has become less murky as Comcast backed by media powerhouse Disney put in a larger bid this past weekend outbidding 21st Century Fox.
Sky, which was brought into existence by media mogul Rupert Murdoch back in 1988 as a European answer to the American 24 hour news network CNN started by Ted Turner, has provided steady coverage of important and historical events for the past 30 years.
Described as a “real crown jewel,” by Disney CEO Bob Iger, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, using similar terminology told reporters back when bidding began in February who related that a story about a London taxi driver who took him to the Sky store which inspired him and his firm to go after the company.
Since 2006, Sky news has been run by John Ryley and was recently awarded Royal Television Society News Channel of the year, the eleventh time it has held the award.
Currently 21st Century Fox owns 39% of the company, so the remaining 61% was up for grabs.
But the process of purchasing the company isn’t quite finished. Comcasts offer of $22.57 per share compared to Fox which offered $20.46 per share. The offer needs to be approved after making their offers official and Sky’s shareholders will review the offers by both companies and have until October 11th to accept the offer. If the acquisition is approved Comcast will own 516 million shares of Sky in an official statement from the London Stock Exchange.
Sky is a valuable asset to American companies like Comcast and 21st Century Fox because of its 23 million subscribers. Acquiring those viewers would help to facilitate either companies’ ability to offset Netflix and Amazon’s popularity and efficacy as growing media giants.
Another side to the story is that Disney/Comcast is set to buy Fox in exchange for the former’s 30 percent ownership of TV streaming platform HULU.
In addition to its network reporting news globally, Sky offers broadband and cell phone services, top original shows and sporting events.
Over the years, Sky has expanded to other parts of the globe. Sky News Australia is another offshoot of the major company though it was later sold to News Corp Australia in 2016.
The showdown will likely end Rupert Murdoch’s aim to purchase the rest of Sky.
Following a phone hacking scandal at the new defunct tabloid News of the World, Fox withdrew from an effort to take over Sky in its entirety.
Two years ago, Murdoch made an attempt once more to purchase Sky at $14.05 per share but two factors got in the way: UK media regulators concern that Fox was a “fit and proper” owner.
Back in February of this year, Comcast came into the picture with a bid at $16.35 per share that was finally formalized two months later. Fox and Comcast went back and forth, each submitting larger bids over the next several months.
Roberts said the outcome of outbidding Fox, was “a great day for Comcast.”
Roberts added, “Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team. The acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.”
Jeremy Darroch, the CEO of Sky, remarked that it was “the beginning of the next chapter for Sky.
By: Andrew Schiff