Sky, Disney & Comcast

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Rupert sells off his stake in Sky -
Rupert Murdoch is officially walking away from Sky Plc, the satellite broadcaster he helped build over three decades, marking the end of an era for both the billionaire and U.K. media.

21st Century Fox Inc., which Murdoch controls, agreed to sell its 39 percent stake in Sky to Comcast Corp. after an intense bidding war that lasted months. Comcast was already poised to acquire the other 61 percent of the company, but it wasn’t clear until Wednesday that Murdoch would capitulate and sell the remainder as well.
Rupert might have lost the battle for Sky, but he's still laughing all the way to the bank -
Murdoch was already in line to receive billions of dollars from Walt Disney Co.’s $71 billion stock and cash offer for most of Fox’s assets, including a 39 percent stake in Sky. Now Comcast’s knockout $39 billion bid has put a rocket under Sky shares, inflating their value for Disney and, ultimately, for Murdoch once he becomes a major Disney shareholder.

It looks like the perfect outcome for the 87-year-old, who set up his first news company in Australia in 1952 and sealed the Disney deal in July partly as a way to step back from his businesses and cement his legacy. Murdoch is already the world’s 60th wealthiest person with a fortune valued at $17.2 billion.

“Murdoch gets the last laugh from a financial perspective,” said Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “He’s sold 21st Century Fox at a really big price and now he’s selling Sky for a really high price.”
Its (Comcast's) winning bid: $39 billion, more than double what media investors estimated the company was worth when it went on the block in 2016.

...on Sept. 24, Comcast’s shares fell as much as 8 percent as Wall Street worried that its global expansion will cost too much. “They grossly overpaid,” says Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC.
When Comcast gains control of Sky, one of its first tasks will be introducing itself to European consumers who’ve never heard of it, according to Alice Enders, head of research at Enders Analysis. “The brand isn’t familiar to people here at all,” says Enders, who’s based in London. “People are still wondering, Who is this company?”

That fresh start could be an advantage for Comcast, whose reputation in the U.S. has been damaged by its history of frustrating customer service. It’s expected to continue using the Sky brand name, so consumers may never notice the new American overlord.
Overpaid, but the Sky name seems to remain.
Comcast goes out and borrows the dosh to pay for Sky -
Comcast Corp. sold bonds to finance its $39 billion acquisition of Sky Plc in one of the biggest corporate debt sales ever in the U.S.

The Philadelphia-based cable giant sold $27 billion of unsecured bonds in 12 parts. The longest portion of the offering, a 40-year security, yields 1.75 percentage points above Treasuries, less than an initially discussed range of between 1.95 percentage points and 2 percentage points, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified as the details are private.
James Murdoch has resigned from the board of Sky plc, owner of Sky News, as Comcast takes majority control in a £29.7bn deal.

Mr Murdoch's departure together with that of six other directors was announced by Sky shortly after Comcast said it was now the majority owner of the company.

The resignation of Rupert Murdoch's son James was announced shortly afterwards, together with that of fellow directors John Nallen, Chase Carey, Martin Gilbert, Andy Sukawaty, Tracy Clarke and Katrin Wehr-Seiter.
Martin Gilbert, outgoing chairman of Sky's independent board committee, said the deal was an "excellent outcome for Sky shareholders" and congratulated Comcast on taking control.

Sky said there would now be applications to cancel its stock market listing and trading - and that this was expected to become effective on 7 November.
Lots of happy sounds from Sky (those who've made a killing owning shares), but there's bound to be some friction.
Darroch might get the boot but he won't be short of a bob or two -
Sky Plc Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Darroch will take home as much as 38.2 million pounds ($50 million) after steering the British pay-TV company into the arms of Comcast Corp.

The 56-year-old sold his 775,772 shares in Sky worth 13.4 million pounds to the U.S. cable giant as it prepares to complete the $39 billion takeover, according to a filing Friday. Darroch will also cash in on previously awarded bonus shares.
Update- edit -
Taking part in Comcast’s Q3 results call for the first time since the UK cable giant’s successful acquisition of the pay TV operator, Darroch said he planned “to stick around” and that he was “looking forward to leading Sky into the future”. Ahead of Comcast’s acquisition there had been speculation that he could depart if Comcast, rather than 21st Century Fox, was successful in its bid.
In the Q&A session, Darroch said that there was probably no other business with the scale of Sky plus Comcast’s 50 million household relationships. He said that there was “certainly a huge amount of growth to go for in our mind in Europe”, including in Germany, which is still a relatively immature pay TV market.
G to go for Münsterland Giro ?! :)
Sky has announced that from Monday Universal movies will arrive on Sky Cinema channels, I think that is the first sign of Comcast takeover, at least here, Universal movies had long been part of Mediaset bouquet (via Studio Universal channel that had been shut down last fall).
Fox Corp., formed from the leftovers of Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox, added former House Speaker Paul Ryan to its board of directors on Tuesday, per Variety.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Sara Fischer: With the deal, Rupert Murdoch is officially exiting Hollywood, but he leaves to re-establish "New Fox," which will be a network that's home to a number of Fox properties, including Fox News, his true passion. Per CNN, Paul Ryan and Rupert Murdoch "have been friendly for many years," with Murdoch naming Ryan as a 2014 presidential candidate that he had "particular admiration for."

The big picture: Disney is set to acquire 21st Century Fox just after midnight on Wednesday. Everything that Disney isn't taking — like Fox Sports and Fox News — will be allocated into Fox Corp, led by Rupert Murdoch's son, Lachlan, who formerly served as the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox.
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