Comcast topples Murdoch's offer for Sky with $31 bn bid

Walt Disney Co (DIS) Could Find Itself In Bidding War For Fox

"Sky and Comcast are a flawless fit: we are both leaders in creating and distributing content", Roberts said on a conference call. He also said: "We would like to buy all of Sky", but 50 percent plus one share is the cut-off point for the company.

"The notion that Comcast might make a topping bid for Fox has weighed heavily on Comcast shares, which have entirely missed the market rebound in the days since their continued interest was first reported".

Under the British takeover code, companies need to have financing lined up for a deal and fulfill certain other requirements before they can make a formal offer.

Media owners have been forced into increasingly aggressive deals after online groups Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc prompted many customers to ditch subscriptions.

He also pledged to support for an independent Sky News, the loss-making channel which is the subject of regulatory scrutiny over its long-term future under the Fox deal.

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Comcast would become a player in the UK, Germany, and Italy, and could pull in a quarter of its revenue from overseas.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox had already agreed an £18.5bn deal to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own. "Sky shares are now trading 2% above the Comcast offer price, so the market clearly smells the scent of some more action before this saga draws to a close". That jump indicates that some investors might be anticipating a bidding war. And he said Sky was "an outstanding business" and lauded its "exceptional brand" and strong content strategy, including original programming, saying it all makes Sky "a ideal fit". Comcast is the biggest U.S. cable-TV operator and also owns one of the largest film and television groups, NBCUniversal.

In an effort to get its offer over the line, Fox earlier this month vowed to preserve the editorial independence of Sky News.

Fox didn't immediately comment on the Comcast offer. In fact, Comcast's lack of assets in the European region is an asset as far as regulatory approval is concerned. "Expect that overhang to remain", he said.

United States media giant Comcast has made a takeover approach for broadcaster Sky, in a deal thought to be worth more than €25bn.

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We already know that Murdoch-owned Fox made a deal to buy out the 61% of Sky it doesn't already own has always been in the works, but today a rival bid has landed on the table. He sought to buy the company back eight years ago but failed during a high-profile media and political scandal.

Broadcasting giant Comcast has instructed Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Davis Polk & Wardwell as it looks to trounce an existing offer for Sky from Rupert Murdoch-owned 21 Century Fox. In December, hedge fund manager Crispin Odey argued that Sky was being sold too cheaply.

"This isn't a done deal yet", he said.

Robey Warshaw, a small boutique firm which has worked on some of Britain's biggest deals, Evercore and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are advising Comcast.

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