United States cable television giant Comcast has submitted a £22.1-billion (approximately Rs 2 lakh crore) bid to buy British broadcasting company Sky, challenging an existing offer from media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, BBC reported.
Murdoch’s company had already agreed to buy the 61% of Sky it does not own for £18.5 billion (approximately Rs 1.67 lakh crore).
“We think Sky is an outstanding company,” The Guardian quoted Comcast Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts as saying. “We think that Sky would be very valuable to us as we look to expand our presence internationally. The superior cash proposal values each Sky share at £12.50 [Rs 1,133] – a significant premium to the 21st Century Fox price currently recommended.”
Roberts announced that Comcast, which is the largest cable company in the United States, wanted to own the whole of Sky and would look to acquire more than 50% of the company’s shares. “We are confident that we will be able to receive the necessary regulatory approvals,” he said. “If successful, the acquisition will enhance our free cashflow per share in the first year.”
Sky’s channels are viewed in 23 million homes across Europe and the company is known for its technological innovation. Murdoch’s takeover of the company has been delayed because of concerns in the United Kingdom about the media tycoon’s influence in the country. Competition watchdogs in Britain had in January refused to allow the sale to go through without Murdoch first ensuring the independence of Sky News.