Why Comcast wants to take Sky News from Rupert Murdoch

Sky Q box with splash of colours coming out of

Why Comcast wants to take Sky News from Rupert Murdoch

Comcast has made a $31bln offer for Europe's satellite operator Sky, 16% more than what 21st Century Fox has offered for the 61% of the company it doesn't own.

Observers said Fox was unlikely to raise its bid for Sky, given that it has agreed to sell a large number of assets, including its 39 percent stake in Sky, to Disney.

"We would like to own the whole of Sky and we will be looking to acquire over 50 percent of the Sky shares", Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement.

Last month, the UK's competition regulator issued its provisional findings on a potential takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox - saying it raised plurality concerns.

Critics, including many politicians, argue that he wields too much power in the country with his ownership of the Sun and Times newspapers and in 2011 he was forced to close the mass-selling News of the World tabloid after its journalists admitted hacking phones to get news.

The company would use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe, complementing its presence in London through NBCUniversal global operations, Comcast CEO and Chairman Brian Roberts said.

'Adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses will increase our global revenues from 9% to 25% of company revenues'.

The media mogul is reported widely to have a strong affection and friendship with U.S. president Donald Trump with whom he is said to have weekly telephone communications.

Fox's bid has been held up by a British government review to determine whether Fox and the Murdoch family that controls Fox is a fit owner for the company. It would also provide a prominent distribution system for NBC channels and Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation movies.

Comcast's new bid is worth £12.50 a share while Murdoch's initial bid was £10.75p.

One analyst in London said that the initial reaction of share price shows this story is not yet complete with the price for the stock already surpassing the higher offer by Comcast.

Now all eyes turn to Rupert Murdoch to see where this battle for Sky goes.

21st Century Fox is now under pressure to match this valuation.

Buying Sky would give Comcast a huge boost in its global expansion efforts.

21st Century Fox and Sky have not yet given official responses to the Comcast interest.

"We believe the combination of the business presents the opportunity to distribute Sky an NBCUniversal content in the U.S. and across Europe", Cavanagh said.

Disney did not respond to a request for comment.

Asked to compare Sky and Dish Network, Roberts said: "I don't want to be disparaging of Dish, but I think there is no comparison to Sky".

Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson Research, a top analyst, had a mixed recation to Comcast's bid for Sky.

HSF and A&O also led for Sky and 21st Century Fox in 2014, when Sky (then called BskyB) concluded a deal worth up to £7.4bn to buy European sister companies Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia from 21st Century Fox. They said not only would the higher bid be attractive, but the "lower regulatory risk" would also be appealing.

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