Comcast extends deadline for Sky shareholders to approve bid

Comcast
Comcast decided to extend its deadline after receiving approval for 3.84 million of Sky’s shares—representing 0.21% of the total share capital—by its initial deadline. (Comcast)

Comcast has extended the deadline it set for Sky shareholders to approve Comcast’s $34 billion bid to acquire Europe’s pay TV giant Sky. According to a statement released by Sky, Comcast’s bid will stand until 1 p.m. London time on Sept. 12.

According to a report from Variety, Comcast decided to extend its deadline after receiving approval for 3.84 million of Sky’s shares—representing 0.21% of the total share capital—by its initial deadline, which was earlier this week. It’s unclear if Comcast will extend the deadline a second time if it doesn’t receive approval from the majority of shareholders by Sept. 12.

Comcast, which is in a bidding war with Fox to acquire Sky, has made a £14.75 ($18.96) per-share offer to acquire Sky, valuing the service provider at $34 billion. Fox’s latest offer of £14 ($18) per-share for the majority of Sky, values the company at $32.5 billion. Fox now has until Sept. 22 to make another offer.

Fox, Comcast, and Disney are wrapped up in a complicated acquisition triangle. Earlier this year, Disney and Comcast were vying to acquire Fox’s media and cable assets. After a lengthy back and forth, Comcast ended its bid on Fox, and instead moved towards acquiring Sky. Comcast is hoping to diversify into the global marketplace in response to increased pressure in the US pay TV market from streaming TV services.

RELATED: Comcast in good position to win Sky after dropping Fox bid, analysts say

Fox, which owns 39% of Sky, bid to acquire the remaining 61% of Sky in 2016. The deal has been held up in intense regulatory scrutiny in the U.K. Regulators have since come to approve the deal, but with conditions.

Disney, meanwhile has won approval for its acquisition of Fox. Disney is buying Fox’s film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000 Pictures; Fox’s television creative units Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Networks Group International; Star India; and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc and Tata Sky.

RELATED: 21st Century Fox bumps its Sky bid to $32.5B as battle with Comcast drags on

Comcast’s pivot towards Sky spurred Fox to up its own bid to £14 per-share, and Disney has agreed to acquire Sky News if Fox is able to best Comcast. The U.K.’s Takeover Appeal Board, which regulates acquisitions, has ruled that Disney will need to offer £14 ($18) per share to Sky if it successfully acquires Fox before Fox is able to acquire Sky.

U.K. regulators have ruled that Fox can only acquire Sky if it divests Sky News, though Comcast’s bid has been accepted by regulators without conditions. Sky’s independent directors have recommended Sky accept Comcast’s bid.

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