The destiny of British media and telecommunications firm Sky plc hangs in the balance as it is yet to be determined which among media and entertainment juggernauts, Disney and Comcast, will bring home the bacon from what appears to be a bidding battle.
With Comcast giving up Fox’s entertainment assets to Disney and the latter winning the bid to the tune of over $71 billion, attention is now turned to the European pay TV provider’s future
Disney and Comcast are very much attracted to Sky because of its 23 million consumers in five countries in Europe. These subscribers could provide the two entertainment giants a unique opportunity to serve more customers directly. Plus, they would be able to diversify outside the United States.
Sky is proud of the Q box, its marketing platform which “terribly impressed” Comcast head Brian Roberts. Furthermore, the British broadcasting firm has a set of appealing TV programs which comprise license to air Premier League soccer.
Disney’s CEO Bob Iger branded Sky as “a real crown jewel” of the entertainment assets he is eyeing from Fox.
Comcast’s offer of 14.75 pounds ($19.34) per share is higher than Fox’s 14 pounds ($18.35) per share. What is still unknown at this point is whether Disney or Fox will top the bid by Comcast.
There are no signs that the second-largest cable TV and broadcasting firm in the world by revenue is conceding. It has filed formal bidding papers for Sky. The latter’s stockholders have until August 22 to decide if they would want to offer their shares to Comcast.
Once Comcast acquires 50 percent plus one share of Sky, the American media behemoth will own the lion’s share of the European pay TV company.
It is likely that Comcast will acquire Sky. Disney, on the other hand, will possibly gain Fox’s entertainment assets. But the scenario would be different if Fox increases its price for the sale of Sky.
On June 20, Disney sweetened its proposal for the Fox entertainment assets to $71.3 billion in stock and cash. Disney raised its tender to upstage the $65-billion offer of Comcast.
The deal has been accepted by Fox and is foreseen to be approved by stockholders by July 27. Fox chose Disney because it values the stock more. Moreover, the Murdoch company is anxious that a settlement with Comcast would be tantamount to a regulatory setback.
The completed deal for Disney comprises the 39 percent stake of Fox in Sky, American cable channels such as National Geographic and FX, Star India, and the 20th Century Fox TV and film production studio.