FOX VERSUS COMCAST. Comcast Takes on Murdoch – By Todd Horwitz, Bubba Trading

 

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“Comcast’s offer pits Roberts against Murdoch, the 86-year-old tycoon who helped to launch Sky in Britain, and who has been edging toward finally getting his hands-on Sky after he first bid for the company eight years ago. “

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FOX VERSUS COMCAST

Comcast Takes on Murdoch

Comcast Corp. has launched a $31-billion bid to acquire European pay-tv provider Sky in an aggressive move to wrest the service away from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox — and the Walt Disney Co. Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, is largely based in the U.S., but it wants to expand its international portfolio. The London-based Sky satellite television service boasts more than 22 million customers in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts described Sky as “one Europe’s leading television content creators and distributors,” with 23 million subscribers across Europe, and “a terrific fit with Comcast NBCUniversal.”

“Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe,” Roberts added. “We already have a strong presence in London through our NBC Universal international operations, and we intend to maintain Sky’s U.K. headquarters. Adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses will increase our international revenues from 9 percent to 25 percent of company revenues.”

Comcast’s offer pits Roberts against Murdoch, the 86-year-old tycoon who helped to launch Sky in Britain, and who has been edging toward finally getting his hands-on Sky after he first bid for the company eight years ago. Murdoch agreed in December to sell the entertainment arm of Fox to Disney for $52.4 billion — a deal that is awaiting U.S. regulatory approval.

The Comcast move for Sky also represents one of the more dramatic moves in a yearlong consolidation and conversion drive convulsing the telecom and media sectors. The companies that own TV and internet pipes also want to own the content that flows through them. Most prominent among those efforts is AT&T Inc.’s proposal to buy Time Warner Inc. for about $85 billion. The Justice Department is suing the companies to block the deal, saying it would hurt pay-tv competition.

Mr. Roberts said Tuesday that Comcast preferred to buy 100% of Sky, including Fox’s current 39% stake. He said Comcast would also settle for a majority stake and would be prepared to be co-owners with either Fox or Disney. Sky said in a statement that its independent directors were “mindful of their fiduciary duties” and obligations under U.K. takeover rules, adding a further announcement would be made as and when appropriate. Representatives of Fox and Disney couldn’t immediately be reached for comment early Tuesday.

Keep those stops tight
Todd “Bubba” Horwitz

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Financial & Political Commentary

 

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Todd Horwitz - Author of “Average Joe Options“. Todd began his trading career in 1980 at the CBOE. He was one of the original traders in the OEX & helped start the SPX. He is a member the CME where he trades S&P futures as well as foreign currencies & is a regular contributor to CNBC, Bloomberg, BNN, Fox & many other major news networks.