US cable group Comcast has confirmed an agreement to buy 21st Century Fox’s 39% stake in Sky for £11.6 billion after emerging victorious in the takeover for the pay TV giant.
Comcast said it will have the backing of more than 75% of shareholders in Sky after snapping up the stake held by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox for £17.28 each. Last week, Comcast bought Sky shares on the open market, building up a 37.7% stake in the group.
£30bn Comcast’s winning bid in the dramatic auction to buy Sky
It comes after Comcast won the £30 billion bidding war over the British broadcaster in a rare auction held late last month by the City’s Takeover Panel. Its bid beat Fox’s £15.67 per share offer after the auction went to the maximum three rounds.
The Murdoch family will now relinquish their holding in Sky after launching the group nearly 30 years ago.
Comcast’s victory means that Mr Murdoch has failed for a second time to gain full control of Sky.
But since Fox made its first bid for Sky nearly two years ago, it has agreed to sell a major chunk of its own business – including its existing 39% Sky stake – to Walt Disney, which has now rubber stamped the sale to Comcast.
Comcast owns NBC Universal and is the largest cable operator in the US. With the Sky takeover, Comcast will become the biggest pay-TV provider in the world, with around 52 million customers after adding Sky’s 23 million subscribers.