Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch faces a multi-billion dollar battle in his quest to buy Sky television after America’s largest cable company Comcast entered the bidding in a move likely to diffuse a potentially hazardous political decision being faced by the British government.
Comcast – which owns the broadcast television network NBC and Universal Pictures — revealed on February 27 that it had made a £22.1 billion ($29.6 billion) offer for Sky, challenging an existing offer from 21st Century Fox, which is owned by the Australian media billionaire Rupert Murdoch.
The businessman — who is now married to Jerry Hall, former wife of Rolling Stones rock legend Mick Jagger, had already submitted an £18.5 billion ($25.8 billion) to buy the 61 per cent stakeholding in Sky which it does not already own.
The decision by Comcast to enter a bidding war is expected to be welcomed by the UK government who fear the offer by Fox would not be in the public interest. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)- the main regulator- already voiced its concern in January that if the deal went through, the Murdoch Family Trust would have too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda as it already owns two British newspapers, The Sun and The Times.
The CMA is now expected to send a final report over the issue to UK Culture Secretary Matt Hancock by the beginning of May when he will then be given 30 working days to make a final decision over whether the Fox acquisition can go ahead.