It appears that Comcast will not sit idly while waiting for the Disney/Fox deal to get approved. The Philadelphia-based communications giant has now offered $31 billion to buy Sky from the UK, increasing its bid by 16 percent over what 21st Century Fox is willing to pay.
21st Century Fox and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, have been hoping to purchase the remaining 61 percent of Sky. It currently owns 39 percent, but its hopes to get the entire enchilada have hit regulatory snags in the UK amid concerns that the Murdoch family would have too much control over the British media.
Disney has announced its intentions to buy Fox’s entertainment assets, including Sky, but that also has to be approved in both the U.S. and Europe. With Fox hitting a hurdle over its purchase of Sky, Comcast has rolled in hoping to purchase the European pay TV company.
Sky has its own entertainment assets, as well as sports. Sky Sports has a major stake in televising the English Premier League. ESPN will tap Sky’s production for F1 this year in what could have been the start of a long cooperation between the Worldwide Leader and Sky. But if Comcast is successful in its bid, that partnership could be short-lived.
Back in 2011, Comcast was able to complete the purchase of NBCUniversal, bringing the huge entertainment conglomerate into the fold and now the company is hoping to expand its holdings in Europe.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement that Sky is a crown jewel in European entertainment:
“Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe. We already have a strong presence in London through our NBCUniversal international operations, and we intend to maintain Sky’s UK headquarters. Adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses will increase our international revenues from 9% to 25% of Company revenues.”
NBCUniversal has a presence in the UK, albeit not as large as Sky. So if Comcast is able to convince the Sky board to shun Fox, it would create a huge global company that would have its roots in Philadelphia.