Comcast's £30bn bid for Sky: what does it mean?

Last night’s deal reflected Brian Roberts’ determination to win

Going in to the auction, Comcast had bid 14.75 pounds a share for the British company and Fox had offered 14 pounds.

Comcast's final offer of 17.28 pounds a share exceeded the top bid of 15.67 pounds from Fox, which was backed by Walt Disney Co., in an auction Saturday overseen by United Kingdom regulators.

Comcast's emergence as the victor helps put an end to months of uncertainty over the future ownership of the TV company Murdoch founded in 1989.

And the Disney-Fox alliance must still clear some regulatory hurdles.

Comcast has emerged as the top bidder for European broadcaster Sky after a rare auction held by British regulators.

A banker from one of Britain's leading boutique advisory firms pressed the button on Comcast's (CMCSA.O) knockout $40 billion bid for broadcaster Sky (SKYB.L). People familiar with the matter said that Fox was mulling tendering the stake if Disney supports the move. It bid £17.28 per Sky share.

It is also a setback for US entertainment giant Walt Disney (DIS.N), which agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy the bulk of Fox's film and TV assets, including the Sky stake, in June and would have taken ownership of the British broadcaster following a successful Fox takeover.

This could make Comcast a big challenger to Disney, which is expected to launch a Disney-branded streaming option in 2019 in addition to its sports-streaming platform ESPN Plus.

Comcast outbids 21st Century Fox for Sky
Comcast outbids Fox with €33bn offer for Sky in auction

Comcast is little known in the United Kingdom but is a major force in the USA, where it owns a large cable TV and internet business.

Comcast operates a more integrated model in the U.S. which includes cable broadband, telephony and free to air television along certain parts of the East Coast.

Murdoch's son James, now chairman of Sky, was instrumental in building the company into the leading European pay TV group, with operations in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, and more than 23 million customers attracted to its top-flight sport and entertainment content. Comcast said it hoped to complete the sale by the end of October.

Comcast's repeated overtures forced Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger to spend almost $18 billion more than he initially planned, or $71.3 billion, to purchase the Fox assets.

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.

Sky shareholders will decide over the coming days which bid to accept, but it is thought to be a formality.

Chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts has had his eye on Sky as a way to help counter declines in subscribers for traditional cable TV in its core US market as viewers switch to video-on-demand services like Netflix (NFLX.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O).

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

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