Comcast is Buying Fox's Existing Stake in Sky for $15 Billion

By Tom Pritchard on at

For years Rupert Murdoch and Fox have been working on trying to buy out the remaining 61 per cent of Sky that the law said couldn't be bought. Recently the law and regulators decided it was just dandy for Murdoch to try his hand at a full takeover, only for Comcast to swoop in with a better offer that inevitably led to Sky shareholders deciding the US cable giant was the way to go. Now, Fox and its new overlords Disney have agreed to sell the remaining 39 per cent of Sky to Comcast for the princely sum of $15 billion.

Over the weekend it had been announced that the bidding war for Sky was over, following an auction between Comcast and Fox. Comcast won by offering a total of $39 billion for the TV/telecoms company, a result that no doubt felt sweet after Comcast failed to pinch Fox from under Disney following preliminary agreements. Sources reportedly CNBC that Comcast expected Disney and Fox to sell off that stake, allowing it to come along and take total control of the company. While it would be easy to feel snubbed by the whole situation, an official statement from Disney CEO Bob Iger focused on the positives.

“Along with the net proceeds from the divestiture of the RSNs, the sale of Fox’s Sky holdings will substantially reduce the cost of our overall acquisition and allow us to aggressively invest in building and creating high-quality content for our direct-to-consumer platforms to meet the growing demands of viewers."

Another official statement to CNBC says much the same, but in different words. The gist of it is that by getting an extra $15 billion, the cost of purchasing Fox drops from $71.3 billion to $56 billion. Unfortunately Rupert Murdoch still gets a hefty payday from the situation, though it does mean he doesn't get to have any stake in yet another British media company. Probably a good thing, even if you don't have issues with the ones he already owns.

According to CNBC Comcast plans to let Sky operate independently, at least for the time being, and while the shareholders have yet to formally vote on the Comcast's takeover the company is recommending that they take the deal. A deal that will net them £17.28 for each share they own. It won't be until then that everything becomes official. Here's just hoping that some of the less-than-favourable parts of Comcast's reputation don't leak into Sky over the coming years - especially where broadband is concerned. [CNBC via Engadget]