TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Shares in Sky (SKYB.L) jumped 9 percent on Monday to within touching distance of the 17.28 pounds a share Comcast (CMCSA.O) bid to beat Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA.O) in the battle for Europe’s biggest pay-TV group.
The U.S. cable-TV giant offered $40 billion in a rare weekend auction that brought to an end its battle against Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), which would have been Sky’s ultimate owner if Murdoch had succeeded.
Both Comcast and Fox/Disney wanted Sky to increase their reach in Europe, where pay-TV is growing, and to gain access to Sky’s 23 million customers which would bolster their defense against streaming services from Netflix and Amazon.
The prize was valued far higher by Comcast in the third and final round of the auction - Fox offered only 15.67 pounds - and its bid quickly received the backing of Sky’s independent directors. The Fox bid was below the level at which Sky shares were trading on Friday.
Comcast, which owns the NBC network and Universal Pictures, is paying a high price - more than double Sky’s share price before Fox made its initial approach in December 2016.