“Comcast kicked off a bidding war for Sky Plc by formalizing its 21.5 billion pound ($30 billion) offer for Britain’s largest pay-TV company, throwing down the gauntlet to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Co.,” reports Bloomberg.
The story adds: “Comcast’s all-cash offer of 12.50 pounds a share [formalized] its proposal on Feb. 27th at the same price, 16 percent above Fox’s 10.75 pound-per-share bid for Sky. The morning announcement by Philadelphia-based Comcast spurred a series of rapid-fire responses. Minutes later, Fox said it’s committed to its own Sky bid and is considering options. Within the hour, Sky’s independent directors had pulled their recommendation for the Fox bid and welcomed Comcast’s.”
The Bloomberg story also notes: “Fox, which already has a 39 percent stake in Sky, plans to sell the broadcaster to Disney as part of their $52.4 billion merger announced in December.
“Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger, who called Sky a ‘crown jewel’ when Disney announced its offer for Fox in December, now needs to decide how badly he wants to outdo Comcast for Sky and back a higher bid from Fox. The contest pits Iger against Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, after Disney won over Comcast in an earlier battle for Fox.”
Notes the Wall Street Journal this morning: “Separately, Comcast is weighing whether to play interloper on the pending Walt Disney Co. acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, people familiar with the situation say. Comcast is gaming out the possibility of making a public case to the company’s shareholders that they should reject the Disney deal, which is expected to come to a vote this summer, and opt for a Comcast tie-up instead, people familiar with the situation say.” [Please note: The WSJ is behind a pay wall and may want to charge you to read its story.]