“We think Sky is an outstanding company. It has 23 million customers and leading positions in the UK, Italy, and Germany. Sky has been a consistent innovator in its use of technology to deliver a fantastic viewing experience and has a proud record of investment in news and programming. It has great people and a very strong and capable management team,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation.
Comcast is well-versed in media mega-mergers having acquired NBCUniversal in 2011, creating a cable and content giant. Rumors in the U.S. had linked Comcast with a renewed bid for 21st Century Fox, but now it has tabled a rival offer to Fox for Sky.
Comcast’s non-binding offer is for £12.50 per share, a 16% increase in value over the existing 21st Century Fox offer for Sky. Fox, which is itself the subject of a takeover bid from Disney, has struggled to get regulatory approval for its Sky deal. As late as last week it was offering concessions to get its deal, which had been accepted by Sky shareholders, over the line. Specifically, Fox has been attempting to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own.
Sky is Europe’s largest pay-TV operator with substantial bases in the U.K., Germany, and Italy, as well as a low-cost streaming services in Spain. It has been making a huge investment in original content to sit alongside the sports rights that have been a staple on the service. In the U.K. it is based on a sprawling west London campus. NBCUniversal has a central London HQ.
Roberts added: “Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe. We already have a strong presence in London through our NBCUniversal international operations, and we intend to maintain Sky’s UK headquarters. Adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses will increase our international revenues from 9% to 25% of Company revenues.”