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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.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
33 mins ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.