Comcast has knocked out Fox in a dramatic auction for British broadcaster Sky. It closed the $40 billion deal on Saturday, easily topping the bid from Rupert Murdoch's group with about 10% more per share. It signals a major defeat in Murdoch's long pursuit of Sky, a company in which he holds a significant stake.
His first bid collapsed eight years ago after a phone hacking scandal engulfed his newspapers. This also deals a blow to Disney, which would have likely been Sky's ultimate owner. It's agreed to a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox's film and TV assets, including its existing 39% stake in Sky.
Comcast's final offer quickly won the backing of Sky's independent directors on Saturday. They are urging shareholders to accept the bid. Fox's own stake, which Disney could choose to cash in, is valued at more than $15 billion by Comcast's price. The company's holding stems from Murdoch's role in the creation of Sky nearly three decades ago.
His son James was pivotal in building Sky into Europe's leading pay TV operator as its former CEO and current chairman. Fox says it's considering options and would make another announcement in due course.