US media company Comcast has today (Thursday) announced it will end its pursuit of the assets 21st Century Fox has agreed to sell to the Walt Disney Company in favour of concentrating on its takeover bid for pan-European pay-television broadcaster Sky.
Comcast made the announcement in a brief statement. “Comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the Twenty-First Century Fox assets and, instead, will focus on our recommended offer for Sky,” Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast, said.
“I’d like to congratulate Bob Iger and the team at Disney and commend the Murdoch family and Fox for creating such a desirable and respected company.”
Today’s announcement comes after Comcast last week moved swiftly to counter the enhanced takeover offer submitted by 21st Century Fox for Sky by entering a new bid to exceed that of its rival US media company.
Comcast’s move came just hours after Fox announced its improved offer and intensified the race for control of Sky. Comcast’s new offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sky is worth £14.75 (€17/$19.5) per share, valuing the broadcaster at approximately £25.9bn.
Fox’s new offer of £14 per share values Sky at £24.5bn and came after Comcast in April announced a superior cash proposal to acquire Sky, which is operated by 21st Century Fox. Comcast’s announcement of a cash proposal of £12.50 per share represented a 16 per cent increase in value over the existing 21st Century Fox offer, which valued Sky at around £19bn. Comcast’s initial cash proposal implied an equity value of £22bn for Sky.
Comcast’s offer is for all of Sky, while Fox, which already owns 39 per cent of the broadcaster, is seeking to secure full control of the company by acquiring the 61 per cent stake it does not already hold.
Comcast had been engaged in an equally significant takeover process in the US, involving Fox. On June 20, Disney tabled an improved $70.4bn (€61bn) takeover offer for a significant share of 21st Century Fox’s business assets.
The amended transaction agreement marked a considerable increase on the $52.4bn deal sealed with Fox in December and came after Comcast earlier submitted a counter-bid of $65bn.