Comcast challenges Murdoch and Disney with $31 billion offer for Sky
The world’s biggest entertainment company, which owns NBC and Universal Pictures, said it proposed to offer 12.50 pounds per share, significantly higher than the 10.75 pounds Fox had agreed to pay for the British company
The offer pits Comcast’s Brian L. Roberts against Murdoch, the 86-year-old tycoon who helped to launch Sky and pioneer pay-TV in Britain. Iger is also a long time rival after Comcast tried and failed to buy Disney for $54 billion in 2004.
Disney had agreed to buy Sky from Fox at a later date along with other assets in a separate deal worth $52 billion.
Media owners have been forced to rethink their strategies and look for growth after the success of online groups Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN.O) prompted customers to start ditching their subscriptions.
Comcast bid $60 billion last year to clinch a deal with Murdoch’s Fox before losing out to Disney.
Shares in Sky soared 21 percent to 13.34 pounds, indicating that investors expect a bidding war for a company that provides sports programming, films and broadband to 23 million homes across Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Austria.
“Sky and Comcast are a perfect fit: we are both leaders in creating and distributing content,” Comcast Chief Executive Officer Roberts, 58, said. “We think Sky is an outstanding company.”