Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) raised its offer for Sky plc (SKY) to $34 billion, beating 21st Century Fox’s (FOX) $32.5 billion-bid. Fox had offered GBP14 a share for Sky while Comcast put forth a proposal of GBP14.75 a share, topping Fox’s offer by 5.4%.
The fact that Comcast immediately sweetened its offer for Sky shows its eagerness in acquiring the British pay-TV group, and almost serves as a testament to Sky’s value. Many analysts have a feeling that Comcast could be focusing more on the Sky acquisition and it might just let the Fox deal slide into Disney’s coffers.
According to a report by Reuters, Sky shares climbed to an 18-year high following the counter-proposal by Comcast. The stock was trading at GBP15.34 in mid-morning in London, bringing the valuation to GBP26.4 billion or $35 billion. Sky’s shares have risen 55% over the past year.
The Sky deal is a sub-plot in a bigger story that also has Comcast and the Walt Disney Co. (DIS) battling to acquire Fox, which is a stakeholder in Sky, all set against a backdrop where media and entertainment companies are trying their best to fend off increasing competition from online rivals like Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN).
Comcast has not raised its bid for Fox and analysts are speculating on the possibility of Fox’s assets getting split up between Comcast and Disney. Sky enjoys a wide European presence, which makes its attractive to both Comcast and Disney with regards to the potential for international expansion. Due to this reason, Disney might be reluctant to let go of Sky.
Fox, meanwhile, just received regulatory approval to acquire Sky after the deal was held up by the British government over concerns that it would give Fox’s owner Rupert Murdoch too much power over the British media.