The move by the US cable network threatens plans by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to take full control of Sky and any subsequent takeover by Disney.
Comcast’s offer represents a premium of 16% over the Fox offer.
“We are delighted to be formalising our offer for Sky today. We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation. “Sky is a highly complementary business and will expand Comcast’s international footprint in the UK and Continental Europe. Sky will be our platform for growth across Europe.”
In making its offer, Comcast has committed to maintaining annual expenditure in Sky News for ten years and establish an independent editorial board. Such commitments reflect promises made by Fox to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as part of its £11.7 billion bid for the 61% in Sky it doesn’t already own.
In addition Comcast would maintain Sky’s UK headquarters in Osterley for five years; and not acquire any majority interest in UK newspapers for five years.