Apr 25, 2018

Comcast unveils $31 billion bid for Sky, battling Fox

Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Comcast today announced a $31 billion takeover bid for European television giant Sky, which subsequently pulled its support for an already agreed-upon deal with 21st Century Fox. Comcast's bid was 16% higher than Fox's, on a share vs. share basis.

The big picture: For Comcast, interest in Sky is a no-brainer. The U.S. telecom giant needs streaming assets to compete on a global stage against tech behemoths like Netflix.

This is pretty bad news for Fox, which already was dealing with regulator concerns that owner Rupert Murdoch holds too many UK assets. Two weeks ago it submitted a proposal to the UK's competition authority to sell Sky to Disney if it would help ease media plurality worries.

  • Sky has over 20 million customers in Europe, a streaming component and a news component.

Comcast previously attempted to get streaming assets via a U.S. merger 21st Century Fox (which it's now ironically bidding against for Sky), but recent reports show that Fox execs shied away from its proposal, even though it was higher than Disney's, due to regulatory concerns.

  • Given those circumstances, Comcast's other viable acquisition option is to try to pick off Sky as a streaming opportunity by itself, which is the direction it’s moving in.

What they're saying:

  • Comcast president Brian Roberts: "We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast. Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand."
  • 21st Century Fox says it remains committed to its recommended cash offer for Sky announced on 15th December 2016 and "is currently considering its options." The company says a further announcement will be made "in due course."
  • Sky has yet to comment, although it's previously vocalized support for Fox's bid.

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 273,880 — Total deaths: 7,077 — Total recoveries: 9,521Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
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  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
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Government will cover uninsured patients' coronavirus treatment

Azar at Friday's briefing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government will cover the costs of coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a White House briefing Friday.

How it works: The money will come from a $100 billion pot set aside for the health care industry in the most recent stimulus bill. Providers will be paid the same rates they get for treating Medicare patients, and as a condition of those payments, they won't be allowed to bill patients for care that isn't covered.

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Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order on Friday as the novel coronavirus pandemic persists. The order goes into effect Saturday at 5 p.m. and will remain in place through April 30. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson also issued a statewide social distancing order on Friday.

The big picture: In a matter of weeks, the number of states that issued orders nearly quadrupled, affecting almost 300 million Americans.

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