London – Comcast may have found a way to break the Walt Disney Company's plan to buy the bulk of 21st Century Fox: Fox owns Sky, the UK satellite broadcaster, with its own $ 31 billion takeover bid Bought.
The offer, announced, will face the difficulties of 21st Century Fox on Tuesday to buy Sky, which it does not yet own. British authorities have repeatedly expressed concern over giving Rupert Murdoch and his family more control over the country's media, extending the approval process for more than a year, and persuading 21
Comcast has said Sky would help buy it in Europe, where the broadcaster has 23 million customers and has rights to showcase the English Premier League and other professional football leagues. Disney was also interested in expanding internationally, with the British company being an important part of its $ 52 billion plan to buy a significant portion of 21st Century Fox.
Whoever dominates will upset Disney's plans. Either 21st Century Fox Needs to Pay More for Sky, or Disney Loses Valuable International Property to Comcast
Disney, Comcast, and others are hurrying to big deals in a rapidly changing media landscape. Consumers increasingly stream their films and TV shows over the Internet. Upstart technology companies like Apple and Amazon have ambitious goals that compete with the big Hollywood studios. Online broadcasters are even more and more competing for the rights to show sports – long a big business for traditional broadcasters and cable operators.
The Sky saga was one of the most developed deal-making dramas in the media.
Mr. Murdoch, the managing chairman of 21st Century Fox, has spent years trying to take full control of the station he founded in 1989. Owning the remainder of Sky would make 21st Century Fox better positioned to defeat Netflix, Amazon, and other gushing giants.
In 2011, Mr. Murdoch was forced to withdraw a $ 12 billion offer to the rest of Sky when a firestorm broke out over telephone hacking by the news media in the UK. The scandal eventually led to the closure of the "News of the World," the first newspaper Murdoch acquired in Britain in the late 1960s.
In December 2016, 21st Century Fox again attempted to expand its global reach cement Murdoch's legacy. The company agreed to buy the 61 percent of Sky, which does not own, for about $ 16 billion.
While the Office of Communications, or Ofcom, ruled in June that Mr. Murdoch and other company executives were "fit and appropriate" In the UK, there were broadcasting licenses, and it also said the deal required more control , According to the regulator, the Fox News sexual harassment scandal has led to "significant corporate failures."
Last month, the UK antitrust regulator temporarily rejected the deal stating that it was "not in the public interest", 19659002] The regulator said it was worried the deal would "affect the Murdoch family" too much on public opinion and the political agenda ". At that time, Murdoch noticed controlled outlets, which included the newspapers The Sun and The Times of London Almost a third of the British population already consumed
Hoping to attract regulators, 21st Century Fox has offered a "completely independent" editorial for Launching Sky News and Retaining Sky News After the Transaction for At Least 10 Years
21st Century Fox had hoped to complete the Sky deal before the Disney deal was completed. But Comcast's move only brings uncertainty into an already complicated process.
Comcast has circled 21st Century Fox in the past. Last year, the cable giant was in preliminary talks to buy the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox, including the minority stake in Sky. Disney has finally prevailed.
At least, Comcast probably made it more expensive for 21st Century Fox to buy everything from Sky. Under the terms of the proposed bid, Comcast said it would pay £ 12.50, about $ 17.50, one share in cash. That would be a 13 percent premium over Monday's close and 16 percent above 21st Century Fox's £ 10.75 current offering.
On Tuesday, the stock of the British broadcaster jumped by almost a fifth. The stock market boom led investors to expect 21st Century Fox to back off or return with an even better deal.
For Comcast or Disney, Sky offers a platform for international expansion.
Comcast said in a statement that about a quarter of its revenue would come from international activities should it sign a contract with Sky, currently at 9 percent. In addition to its other businesses, Sky has also announced to launch streaming services in Spain and Switzerland.
"We consider Sky as a media company: sky news, sky sports, sky movies," Brian L. Roberts, Comcast's chairman and chief executive, said at a conference call with analysts. "There's a tremendous presence in content creation, not just distribution."
In a research report released on Tuesday, Polo Tang, a UBS analyst, said that Sky's content could make it "strategically interesting" to a large number of bidders and its broadcast and streaming distribution network. It also recently retained the rights to the Premier League at lower cost than analysts had expected.
Mr. Tang said the favorable outcome of the Premier League auction "potentially gives Fox scope to increase its offerings."
Comcast said it is seeking control of more than half of Sky's shares with Tuesday's bid, but ultimately is interested in the entire British broadcaster.
In a statement, Sky urged shareholders to do nothing nor act. The broadcaster added that its independent directors "respect their fiduciary duties and obligations under the UK Takeover Code."
Representatives of Disney and 21st Century Fox did not immediately respond to requests for comments.