Comcast closes Sky purchase, James Murdoch steps down

Sky logo on studios

"We wish Comcast had not acquired Sky", analysts with the New Street research firm wrote on Friday in a note to investors.

Rupert Murdoch's son James has stepped down from the board of Sky PLC (LON:SKY) after Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA) announced it has become the majority owner of the United Kingdom broadcaster.

U.S. cable company Comcast took control of Sky today after it acquired the 39% of the company owned by Twenty-First Century Fox.

The US media giant won the auction for Sky with a £17.28 per share offer, ahead of Fox's bid of £15.67, valuing Sky at about £27.9bn.

For the meantime, Comcast's major advantage in the deal is having rights over live sports content and other news content as it now has revenue channeled from NBC News, CNBC, MSNBC, and Euronews.

Comcast last month successfully bid £30.6 billion ($40.1 billion, 35 billion euros) for Sky, which has nearly 23 million subscribers across Europe.

In his statement, Roberts said: "We are also fully committed to ensuring Sky News' future, maintaining its editorial independence, and preserving its strong track record for trusted, high quality, impartial news". They beat out Fox in a blind bidding war for the company, which has a share in markets all across Europe.

"We very much look forward to working with Brian and the Comcast team to achieve further growth and development of Sky's business".

Fox's long-running pursuit for all of Sky had been plagued by United Kingdom government fears over media plurality and broadcasting standards - and the influence of Australian-born USA citizen Murdoch.

Fox's overlapping offer to acquire Sky had lapsed, Sky noted yesterday, recommending anyone who hadn't yet accepted Comcast's offer do so immediately.

To remedy this, Fox had proposed to sell the news channel in case of victory in the takeover battle. Pursuant to Listing Rule 5.2.11R, Sky announces that the cancellation notice period of 20 business days commenced today and cancellation is expected to become effective on November 7th 2018.

United Kingdom culture minister Jeremey Wright had urged Comcast to ensure the independence of Sky News.

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