Fox to sell 39% stake in Sky for $15 bn to Comcast

Twenty-First Century Fox has agreed to sell its 39 percent stake in UK-based Pay-TV company Sky to US-based cable giant Comcast.
Comcast investment
The latest announcement will be securing the U.S. cable group’s $40 billion takeover of its European rival and ending media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s relationship with the UK-based broadcaster, Reuters reported.

Comcast on Saturday outbid Fox in a government-monitored auction to take control of pay-TV group Sky, with an offer price which valued Fox’s 39 percent stake at 11.63 billion pounds or $15.31 billion.

Fox had previously agreed to sell the stake in Sky to Walt Disney as part of a separate deal.

Disney said on Wednesday it had given consent to Fox’s decision.

Disney said the sale of the stake, coupled with the divestiture of the Fox Sports Regional Networks (RSNs), would reduce the amount of debt it will incur in buying the Fox assets and help it invest in its Disney-branded direct-to-consumer offering launching late next year.

Disney said it will expand its investment in the Disney-branded direct-to-consumer offering launching in late 2019 and the new ESPN+ sports streaming service. Disney aims to increase investment in Hulu’s content and international distribution. Disney and 21st Century Fox each currently hold 30 percent stakes in Hulu.

“Along with the proceeds from the divestiture of the RSNs, the sale of Fox’s Sky holdings will 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,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

Fox, which holds 39 percent stake in Sky, first offered 10.75 pounds a share for the rest of the broadcaster in December 2016 but saw its takeover delayed by a prolonged regulatory review of the proposed deal in the UK.