US media giant Comcast challenges Murdoch's Sky bid with €25bn offer

The CEO of Comcast described Sky as "an outstanding company"

US media giant Comcast challenges Murdoch's Sky bid with €25bn offer

Picture by: Tobias Hase/DPA/PA Images

US media giant Comcast has made a takeover approach for broadcaster Sky, in a deal thought to be worth more than €25bn.

The owner of CNBC and Universal Pictures has announced what it described as a 'superior cash offer' of €14.17 per share - an offer that's 16% higher that 21st Century Fox's bid.

Comcast's chief executive says he is confident the firm will get the necessary regulatory approvals.

Brian L Roberts argued: "We think Sky is an outstanding company. It has 23 million customers and leading positions in the UK, Italy, and Germany. Sky has been a consistent innovator in its use of technology to deliver a fantastic viewing experience and has a proud record of investment in news and programming. It has great people and a very strong and capable management.

"Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe. We already have a strong presence in London through our NBCUniversal international operations, and we intend to maintain Sky’s UK headquarters."

He suggested that purchasing Sky would increase their international revenue from 9% to 25% of their overall revenue.

Last month, the UK's competition regulator issued its provisional findings on a potential takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox - saying it raised plurality concerns.

The regulator said the deal would not operate against the public interest in terms of either Fox or Sky having a genuine commitment to UK broadcasting standards.

However it warned that, in terms of the need to maintain plurality in the UK media, the takeover could potentially act against the public interest.

The Murdoch Family Trust - the vehicle through which Rupert Murdoch, 21st Century Fox's executive chairman, owns shares in that business - is a major shareholder in News Corp, which owns major British newspapers The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.

21st Century Fox itself last December agreed to sell its entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co for US$52.4bn (€44.3bn).