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David Pidgeon 

Comcast beats Fox to win Sky bid

Comcast beats Fox to win Sky bid

US cable giant Comcast has emerged as the winner after a blind auction for Sky on Saturday, offering £17.28 per share - beating Fox's £15.67 offer and scuppering Rupert Murdoch's long-held plans to take full control of the broadcaster.

Fox wanted the remaining 61% of Sky it does not already own, however Comcast’s bid ruined those plans during a rarely-used, seven-hour blind auction set by the City of London Takeover Panel.

Sky has recommended its shareholders accept the bid and have until Oct 11 to make a decision.

“As part of a broader Comcast we believe we will be able to continue to grow and strengthen our position as Europe’s leading direct to consumer media company,” says Sky chief executive, Jeremy Darroch.

“Today’s outcome is down to the hard work of tens of thousands of people who have built and developed this business together over the last 30 years. Sky has never stood still, and with Comcast our momentum will only increase.”

Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive of Comcast, added: “Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team.

“This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.

“We now encourage Sky shareholders to accept our offer, which we look forward to completing before the end of October 2018.”

Commenting on what the deal would mean for the wider sector, Ian Whittaker, an analyst at Liberum said for Sky, he would not expect a significant amount of change.

"It is very unlikely Comcast will look to rebrand Sky, it has pledged to keep Sky News and there is visibility on the major football contracts," he said. "Comcast is likely to take Sky’s expertise in areas such as technology and customer service back to the United States to help with its operations there.

"For the rest of the European media sector, what it demonstrates is that assets with a strong brand and significant reach are likely to be targets as the major media companies, predominately US based, react to the changing landscape and challenges posed by the rise of the FAANGs."

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