Comcast Offers to Buy Sky for $31 Billion, Diversify Overseas

Douglas A. McIntyre

Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NYSE: FOXA) intends to buy U.K.-based satellite content company Sky and then pass it on to Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) in a sale of most of Fox’s assets. Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) means to upset those plans. It offered $31 billion for Sky today.

The Disney offer for Fox assets has been valued at $52.4 billion

The U.S. cable and entertainment company disclosed:

Comcast Corporation today published a Rule 2.4 announcement (under the City Code On Takeovers And Mergers (the “Code”)) regarding a possible offer which is a superior cash proposal to acquire Sky. Sky is a leading consumer entertainment company in Europe, providing exceptional entertainment and communications services primarily in the UK, Germany, and Italy.

Comcast’s announcement of a superior cash proposal of £12.50 per share represents a 16% increase in value over the existing 21st Century Fox offer for Sky. Comcast’s superior cash proposal implies an equity value of $31bn (£22bn) for Sky.

A combination would bring attractive financial benefits to Comcast shareholders, and is expected to be accretive to Comcast’s free cash flow per share in year one.

Comcast currently has its major operations concentrated in the United States. These include its Xfinity cable and broadband business, NBCUniversal, which has entertainment and news assets, and a division that offers enterprise broadband services to businesses. The concentration of businesses within the United States may be a primary driver of the Comcast decision.

In 2017, Comcast had revenue of $84.5 billion, up 5.1% from 2017. Earnings adjusted for income tax changes in 2017 rose 18% to $2.06 per share. Cable revenue was $52.5 billion for the year. NBCUniversal revenue was $33 billion. Sky would make Comcast a multinational company for the first time.