Sky reconsiders Fox offer after Comcast bid

Comcast launches official £22bn bid for Sky sparking hopes of a titanic bidding war

Comcast is offering 12.50 pounds per Sky share in an all-cash deal, the Philadelphia-based company said in a statement Wednesday, confirming a proposed offer it made on February 27.

The bid Tuesday puts the Philadelphia cable company in direct conflict with Rupert Murdoch' 21st Century Fox, which wants Sky for itself.

USA media conglomerate Comcast has made a 22 billion pound ($30 billion) bid for London-based pay TV operator Sky in move that threatens a rival bid by Rupert Murdoch.

21st Century Fox issued a statement saying it remains committed to its offer and is "currently considering its options".

Sky is based in London but has strong news and pay-TV operations across Europe, and is particularly prized for its sports broadcasting operations, including the English Premier League soccer matches.

Sky shares rose 4.1 percent to 13.62 pounds by 1107 GMT - well above the offer price, implying that some shareholders anticipated a bidding war.

Comcast is a daunting rival for Fox, with far greater financial firepower.

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Hedge fund Elliott has taken a stake of nearly 3 percent in Sky, according to its latest filing, and other shareholders have argued that Disney's $52 billion agreement to buy Fox implies a higher value for Sky.

At a time when USA consumers are cutting their cable subscriptions and spending more time online, Disney and Comcast are both seeking to broaden their geographical footprint. Sky is a highly complementary business and will expand Comcast's worldwide footprint in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe.

Comcast pledged to maintain funding levels for Sky News for a decade and to safeguard its editorial independence. Fox, which already has a 39 per cent stake in Sky, had planned to sell the broadcaster to Disney as part of their $52.4 billion merger announced in December.

Fox has since proposed several measures to try to assuage the regulator's fears over the Murdochs' potential influence.

As CEO of Fox, James Murdoch will receive the largest payout of $70.6 million.

Fox, controlled by Rupert Murdoch's family, has faced hurdles in trying to buy the 61 percent of Sky it doesn't already own. The family also controls News Corp., which owns three of Britain's biggest newspapers: The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.

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