Comcast Outbids Fox for Giant EU Pay Channel Sky TV

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AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts
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Going once… twice… sold! The long-running showdown for the European pay TV giant climaxed with a Saturday three-round auction.

Comcast has submitted the higher bid for European pay TV giant Sky in a three-round auction showdown with 21st Century Fox, with an offer worth $29 per-share, or £17.28 per share, which values Sky at just over $39.2 billion, or £30.54 billion.

Comcast on Saturday as expected prevailed over Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which has Walt Disney as a de facto backer, in the battle for the European pay TV giant Sky following a dramatic one-day auction.

Fox/Disney offered a final $26.40, or £15.67 per-share offer.

Fox has long owned a 39 percent stake in the company, with both suitors not submitting final Sky bids or dropping out of the acquisition hunt by a Saturday, Sept. 22 deadline, triggering the auction.

When the gavel finally fell early evening London time, Comcast had won with its all-cash offer that allows the U.S. cable giant to expand across the Atlantic by acquiring Sky and its 23 million BSkyB subscribers, digital assets and streaming options.

The blind auction format saw 21st Century Fox bid first, followed by Comcast. Both media giants then went head-to-head with final sealed offers.

When the bidding rounds were completed, the UK Takeover Panel, which oversees public takeover transactions in Britain, officially revealed Comcast as the winner of the rare auction with its topping per-share bid.

Sky shareholders now have two weeks to tender their shares to Comcast.

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