US cable TV firm Comcast has bid £22bn for Sky in a move that threatens media giant Rupert Murdoch’s attempts to take over the pay-TV group, according to BBC News.
Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is seeking to take full control of Sky, with a £19bn bid for the 61% of shares it does not own. Sky has withdrawn its recommendation to shareholders for that bid to proceed following the Comcast offer.
Sky shares have risen 3.4% to £13.52 on the FTSE 100 following news of the bid.
Comcast is a vast US cable TV company that owns NBC and Universal Pictures. Its bid is around 16% higher than Fox’s offer of £10.75 a share.
Chief executive Brian Roberts said: “We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast. Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand.”
Analyst George Salmon of Hargreaves Lansdown said that the Comcast bid raised the possibility of a bidding war.
Salmon said: “Part of the reason the value of the deal is significantly higher than what Fox originally put forward is that Sky has since secured three more years of rights to Premier League football at a reduced cost. As far as the value of Sky goes, that’s a game-changer.”
Comcast is working with Sky’s directors to see if its deal will be recommended to shareholders. It has said it plans to agree several legally binding commitments in the deal, including maintaining the company headquarters in Osterley, London for at least five years.