Comcast gains controlling interest in Sky | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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With the purchase of 21st Century Fox's stake in UK broadcaster Sky, Comcast now holds a 76.8% interest in the company.
comcast 7Oct2018
The news follows on a dramatic horserace where Comcast outbid 21CF and Disney for the right to set a price to take over Sky. 21CF has confirmed it has zero interest remaining in Sky, having offloaded its 39.12% stake to the cable giant.

21CF sold its shares to Sky at the £17.28 per-share price that Comcast has bid for the rest of the company. That bid values 21CF's Sky holding at £11.63 billion.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Comcast clinched the fourth largest corporate bond sale on record, successfully borrowing $27bn to fund its $39.7bn acquisition of the pan-European satcaster. It raised the funds across 12 tranches of floating- and fixed-rate bonds, ranging from two- to 40-year maturities.

The sale has he follow-on effect of reducing Disney's debt  in acquiring 21CF's media assets.

“Along with the net proceeds from the divestiture of the RSNs, the sale of Fox’s Sky holdings will substantially 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 to meet the growing demands of viewers,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO at Disney, last week.

In terms of whether the Sky acquisition was a good move for Comcast, Dilantha de Silva, a stock analyst writing for Seeking Alpha, said that trends around cord-cutting will affect Sky and, now, its new owner.

“Not only in the US but even in other major markets such as the United Kingdom, streaming services are becoming increasingly popular and is challenging the sustainability of cable TV providers,” he said. “These developing trends formed the background for Comcast to bid for Sky as it was apparent that the addition of Sky would assist Comcast to compete with Netflix and other streaming services, and more importantly, the addition of Sky would expand Comcast’s reach to Europe as well which is untouched at present.”

That’s because Sky is competing with streaming services such as Netflix by producing its own content and making it available on its premium platform. It also has its own video-streaming service, Now TV, and this enables the company to push that original content to the end users beyond its 23 million pay-TV customers.

“There’s never been a more competitive time to be in the content business and I’m incredibly excited by the scale, quality and authenticity of the UK TV industry right now,” said Gary Davey, Sky’s MD of content. “Next year will see over 50 Sky original productions on air and over 20 of these will be returners - a testament to the popularity of our shows – and it doesn’t stop there, with our increased investment, the focus for 2018 remains getting even better on screen.”

In addition to its own content, Sky has exclusive broadcasting rights to the English Premium League, which acts as an “economic moat” for the company, he pointed out.