Comcast Formalizes Its Offer For Sky

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The US cable company, which owns NBC Universal, has made an all-cash offer of £12.50 a share, a 16 per cent premium on the offer from Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, which values Sky at about £19bn.

After Comcast lodged its offer, Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky, said it is committed to its bid and it is weighing its options.

Following the formal bid from Comcast, independent directors at Sky said they were withdrawing their recommendation that shareholders accept the competing offer from Fox. It confirmed the terms of its superior cash offer this morning.

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The group added that it plans to agree a raft of legally-binding commitments over Sky and its investment in the United Kingdom, in particular for Sky News, while it also said it would commit to keeping the group's Osterley headquarters for at least five years.

Its takeover play further complicates the Fox/Sky saga, with Walt Disney also recently being told by Britain's Takeover Panel that it must bid for the whole of Sky even if Rupert Murdoch's offer is blocked.

Investors, who think the bidding war will continue, sent Sky's stock much higher than Comcast's new offer.

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Comcast said it expects the Sky deal to generate annual run-rate synergies of around $500 million, through a combination of revenue benefits and recurring cost savings.

A woman walks past the NBC and Comcast logos on 30 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan in NY, U.S., February 27, 2018. It also proposed to protect media plurality in the United Kingdom by giving a binding post-offer undertaking not to acquire any majority interest in any British newspapers for five years. Disney had agreed in November to buy 21st Century Fox (FOXA) and its stake in Sky. "We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast".

Sky is known in Europe for its live football (soccer in the US) broadcasts as well as for premium content such as HBO's "Game of Thrones" and in-house productions such as "Fortitude" and "Britannia".

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