Comcast's €25bn bid for Sky sees Murdoch's Fox dropped

Comcast Makes $31B Takeover Offer for Sky Official

Comcast, which first outlined an offer at the same £12.50 a share price in February, said it would continue to engage with the Sky's independent directors with a view to obtaining a recommendation for its deal.

Comcast, the owner of NBC and Universal Pictures, said it was delighted to be formalising its offer.

Following the formal bid from Comcast, independent directors at Sky said they were withdrawing their recommendation that shareholders accept the competing offer from Fox. On Wednesday the $155 billion company said it had identified $300 million of annual pre-tax cost savings and a further $200 million of gains from combining Sky's TV shows and movies with Comcast's NBCUniversal library. The Fox-Sky deal was announced in December 2016 but has been delayed by regulatory concerns.

Murdoch's British media assets, which include newspapers The Sun and The Times, already reach a third of the country's news consumers.

Fox has responded by promising to ring-fence Sky News and has guaranteed to fund it for up to 15 years.

"Comcast is a daunting rival for Fox, with far greater financial firepower, yet the contest between Fox and Comcast has been complicated by a $52.4bn offer from Disney a year ago to swallow most of Fox, including its existing stake in Sky", says CNN Money.

The CMA is due to report to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, by 1 May on whether it thinks Fox's bid should be allowed to proceed.

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They include pledges to establish an independent board for Sky News and to invest in the channel, for 10 years, at least as much as the channel's budget was in 2016-17.

The Fox offer had faced hurdles previous year when the UK's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport issued a European intervention notice, which asked United Kingdom media regulator Ofcom to report on two public interest considerations around the merger plans.

He added: "We also understand the role that Sky plays in United Kingdom society and in its customers' lives and we are determined to be responsible and trusted owners of Sky". Nevertheless, investors who pushed Sky shares up 4 percent to £13.57 on Wednesday are wagering that Disney and Fox will disregard financial sense. The stock closed up nearly 4 percent at £13.59.

It partly reflected expectations among investors that Fox and Comcast - along with potential other suitors - were likely to enter a bidding war.

"We also understand the role that Sky plays in United Kingdom society and in its customers' lives, and we are determined to be responsible and trusted owners of Sky", Roberts said in a statement.

Whether Sky goes for it is the next question.

Sky is based in London but has strong news and pay-TV operations across Europe and is particularly prized for its sports broadcasting operations, including the English Premier League soccer matches.

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