Comcast Triumphs Over Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox In $40B Sky Deal — Updated

Its recent originations including the Benedict Cumberbatch-fronted drug drama Patrick Melrose, which it co-produced with Showtime, as well as Amazon epic period drama co-pro Britannia and buddy cop series Bulletproof. Its first co-pro with HBO, Chernobyl, is set to launch next year. Sky has around 23 million European subscribers in the UK and Ireland, Germany and Austria and Italy and has been aggressively moving into new markets including launching services in Spain and Switzerland. It has annual revenues of £13.6B (US$17.7B) and is one of the leading investors in television content in Europe with an annual programming spend of over £6B ($7.8B).
"Sky is a remarkable story and we are proud to have played such a significant role in building the incredible value reflected today in Comcast’s offer,” Fox said in a statement.
Fox issued a statement saying it's considering its options regarding its own 39% stake in Sky. If a majority of Sky stock holders accept the Comcast offer, Roberts said he anticipates closing the deal before the end of October. The acquisition now awaits shareholder approval.
It also diversifies Comcast's revenue at a time when cord-cutting is taking its toll in the U.S, boosting income from international operations to 25% of revenue from the current level of 9%. cable giant launched its rival bid for Sky in February, as it sought to extend its global reach and strengthen its business at a time when Netflix and the other tech giants pose a growing threat. The U.S.
This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally. "Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team. We couldn’t be more excited by the opportunities in front of us." “This is a great day for Comcast," said Roberts in a statement.
The triumphant Sky bid hands Comcast a consolation prize, after it surrendered to Disney in the bidding war for 21st Century Fox's film and TV assets.
Sky was advised by Morgan Stanley, Barclays and PJT Partners, law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, and PR firm Finsbury.” /> Fox was advised by investment banks Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan, specialist advisory firm CenterView, law firms Allen & Overy, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom, and Simpson Thacher and Bartlett, and PR companies Brunswick and Portland. Comcast worked with specialist advisory firm Robey Warshaw, investment bankers Evercore, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo, law firms Davis Polk & Wardwell and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and PR firm Tulchan. The unusual way that the mega-merger ended saw half of Britain’s top bankers working an extra shift over the weekend.
Earlier this year Roberts lost out to Disney in an attempt to buy Fox’s entertainment assets, although it did force Disney to pay $20B more than it had previously intended to.  It will be a major blow to the Murdoch family, which has waged an epic effort to roll up all of Sky during the better part of the last 10 years, but the scheme hit the rocks after a “phone hacking” scandal raised concerns among regulators about the stewardship of Sky News.
Comcast has triumphed in the intense battle to acquire Sky – beating U.S. This comes seven months after the NBC Universal owner swooped in to usurp Rupert Murdoch’s company. rival 21st Century Fox to the ‘crown jewels’ of European pay-TV.
The Hollywood studio paid $40 billion for Sky, a move that saw Comcast CEO Brian Roberts finally outmaneuver Disney boss Bob Iger, who was backing the Fox bid.
The company, which has over 31,000 employees, is known for its sports content and recently secured the rights to the English Premier League for another three-year period at a reduced level. It also has a record of technological innovation with its Sky Q platform. The company also owns a number of production companies including Love Productions, makers of The Great British Bake Off.
Comcast has paid £17.28 per share, compared to Fox’s blind bid of £15.67.
Comcast had been in the driving seat after it topped Fox’s $32.5B bid with its own $34B bid in August. A trip to London, including a visit to a Sky store to test out its technology and helpful advice from a cab driver, helped cement interest.
Deadline understands that the bidding for Sky officially kicked around midday in the UK and the winning bid came after the auction entered its third and final bidding round. Sky's fate was determined by a rather unusual blind auction, lead by Britain’s Takeover Panel, after neither Fox or Comcast made a “best and final” offer for the Patrick Melrose co-producer.
He saw strong parallels between Sky's operation and Comcast's own offerings. In announcing the company's competing bid, Roberts said he was attracted by Sky's position as both a telecom operator — selling TV, internet and wireless plans across Europe — and as a media company.
UPDATED with statement from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, Fox