American multinational mass media corporation Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. has reportedly announced that it will be selling the rest of its Sky stakes to Comcast for over $15 billion. Reports cite, the announcement comes four days after Comcast won a majority ownership in UK-based broadcaster Sky in an auction against Fox.
Reportedly, Fox and Comcast have been involved in a bidding war against each other for Sky which is perceived to be a coveted international asset in the industry of pay-tv. Fox sold most of its other assets to Disney in December for approximately $52 billion and Comcast reportedly anticipated that Fox, acting in concert with Disney, would eventually offer its stake.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, although Disney had a strong intension owning all the satellite TV services, Comcast, led by its Chief Executive and Chairman Brian Roberts, made the winning bid that valued Sky at approximately $40 billion.
Disney reportedly released a statement saying that the transaction, along with the divestment of Fox Sports Regional Networks, would significantly reduce the debt Disney would incur when acquiring Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. This would allow Disney to uphold its powerful balance sheet as the company continues to invest in content creation for its direct to customer platforms.
Reportedly, the proceeds from Fox’s stake of Sky would be directed toward Disney to help the company dampen the cost of over $71.3 billion acquisitions it is making by procuring a number of Fox assets. The assets reportedly include Fox’s stake in Hulu, several of its cable stations, Star India along with its film and TV studio and various other assets.
Reliable reports claim, Comcast plans to allow Sky to continue operating independently. Sky also recommended its shareholders that it would immediately accept Comcast’s offer. However, the deal would not be confirmed unless the shareholders of the British broadcaster accept it formally.