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Comcast Outbids Fox And Will Acquire British Broadcaster Sky

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Philadelphia-based Comcast outbid 21st Century Fox on Saturday to take control of British broadcaster Sky for about $39 billion.

The U.S. cable giant came out on top in a three-round auction held by British regulators by offering about $2 more per share.

Both Comcast and Fox wanted Sky to compete with online streaming services Netflix and Amazon.

NPR's Frank Langfitt tells our Newscast unit that "Sky has 23 million subscribers and owns the rights to the English Premier League soccer games. Comcast found Sky attractive because it provides a foothold in Europe and will make it less dependent on the United States."

Rupert Murdoch's Fox, which owned part of Sky, had wanted to acquire the entire company for years.

But Langfitt reports that efforts by Fox "were derailed following a phone-hacking scandal involving Murdoch's British tabloids. The British government also raised questions about whether the complete acquisition of Sky would put too much media power in Murdoch's hand."

Since then, Fox has agreed to sell most of its entertainment assets to Disney.

In a statement, Sky recommended that shareholders accept Comcast's offer and sell their shares immediately.

"Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand and accomplished management team," Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. "This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally."

Comcast said it hoped to complete the takeover by the end of October.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Doreen McCallister