Comcast Corp, the No.1 cable operator in the US, on Tuesday made a US$30.9 billion offer for UK-based broadcaster Sky, topping a rival bid from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
Comcast is offering 12.50 pounds a share for all of Sky, trumping a 10.75 pounds a share offer from Fox for the 61 percent of Sky it doesn’t already own, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The move comes after Disney agreed last year to buy a big chunk of assets from Fox, including its stake in Sky, for more than US$52 billion.
Comcast said it is eager to buy all of Sky, including the stake owned by Fox.
“We think that Sky would be very valuable to us as we look to expand our presence internationally,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was quoted as saying in a statement.
The US media giant, which owns NBC and Universal Pictures, said a firm offer for Sky is subject to final approval by the board of Comcast.
The offer pits Comcast against Murdoch, who helped to launch Sky in Britain, and also against Walt Disney which has agreed to buy a string of assets from Fox, including Sky, Reuters noted.
Fox agreed in December 2016 to buy the remaining stake in Sky it did not already own, but the takeover has been repeatedly held up by anti-trust concerns.
Murdoch and his family are significant shareholders in both Fox and News Corp, which owns a number of British newspapers.
Fox has proposed ring fencing Sky’s news division with an independent board, a move that regulators have said they would consider.
Britain’s antitrust regulator has said that it will make a final recommendation on the deal later this year. The British government has final say.
Some Sky shareholders, meanwhile, have also started to complain that the Fox offer was too low.
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