Sky backs away from Murdoch as Comcast makes £22bn cash bid

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The announcement, which accompanied Comcast's Q1 results, puts the USA cable and media group in a head-to-head battle with 21 Century Fox, whose existing bid for the company values it at £19 billion.

21st Century Fox issued a statement saying it remains committed to its offer, which stands at £11.7billion, and is 'currently considering its options'.

The offer comes over a year after Fox made its initial bid to take control of the 61% of Sky that it doesn't already own in a £11.7bn deal, which has faltered, however, after United Kingdom regulator the Competition and Markets Authority found it was not in the public interest, citing concerns over media plurality.

Comcast said that it intends to make the following commitments regarding Sky and investment in the United Kingdom: 1. maintain annual expenditure in Sky News for 10 years, "at a level not less than incurred in Sky's 2017 financial year;" 2. establish an editorial Sky News board with the responsibility to ensure the editorial independence of Sky News for 10 years; 3. maintain Sky's United Kingdom headquarters in Osterley for five years; and 4.

"We are delighted to be formalizing our offer for Sky today".

The American based cable operator, Comcast has formally put a bid of £22 billion forward to acquire Sky. Its bid is around 16% higher than Fox's offer of £10.75 a share.

Accompanying its offer, Comcast made a number of commitments on how it will run Sky, many of which match pledges previously made by Fox. The Comcast offer stands at £12.50 per share, as per its initial notice of a potential offer in late February.




"The most likely scenario, according to many analysts, is that Fox, with Disney's blessing, raises its bid", Reuters said.

The move opened up the possibility of a bidding war for Sky, whose stock spiked 4.4 per cent to £13.63 pounds on the news of the offer.

There was also a commitment not to secure any United Kingdom newspaper ownership for at least five years. With all the family ties, Sky created a committee of independent directors to evaluate the offers.

That undertaking was anticipated to ameliorate any concerns over plurality, although the Fox-Disney deal remains under the scrutiny of U.S. regulators.

Comcast has said that adding Sky to its business would increase worldwide revenues to 25% from 9%.

Comcast sees Sky's 23M customers in the UK, Italy and Germany as a platform for further growth on the Continent.

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