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Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Comcast has prevailed in a suspenseful settlement auction against 21st Century Fox for European Broadcaster Sky. Comcast submitted a £17.28 per share bid while Fox submitted a £15.67 per share bid. The auction ends a nearly two-year-long battle for Sky.

Why it matters: Sky reaches nearly 23 million pay-TV households across six European countries, which will help Comcast develop an international footprint to be able to take on some of the big tech streaming giants, like Netflix and Amazon.

How it went down: The UK Takeover panel announced that the deal would end in a Saturday auction unless either party submitted a final bid Friday. In the absence of a final offer, the auction took place over roughly eight hours Saturday, consisting of three rounds of bidding. Bids were submitted via email.

    • First, 21st Century Fox was allowed a chance to increase its bid, because it went into the auction with the lower offer.
    • Second, Comcast responded to Fox's offer.
    • Third, both parties were able to submit their best and final offers by 7:00 p.m. U.K. time. Comcast's bid was higher.

The back story: Auctions like this are unusual for settling a dealmaking process as large as this one, but it put an end to a lengthy battle for Sky that had been dragging on for nearly two years.

  • Fox first indicated interest for Sky in 2016. Comcast submitted a bid topping Fox's when it became clear they may not be able to win Fox's entertainment assets, which drive lots of international revenue, against Disney due to regulatory concerns.
  • Comcast submitted the highest bid so far back in July at $34 billion ($19.49 per share), topping Fox's latest bid of $32.5 billion ($18.60 per share). Both firms have gotten approval from regulators for the deal, although Fox's approval process was far more painful than Comcast's, due to the fact that the Murdoch family already owns many media properties in the U.K.
  • Fox currently owns a 39% stake in Sky, which it plans to sell to the Walt Disney Company upon completion of its merger back in the U.S. It would also sell off whatever stake it wins with Sky as a part of that deal.

The bigger picture: Fox still owns a 39% minority in Sky, which will go to the Walt Disney Company upon the completion of its acquisition of Fox's entertainment assets. Disney could potentially sell its minority stake to Comcast.

What's next? Both companies must post offer documents to shareholders next week.

Go deeper

Asymptotic Florida students exposed to COVID no longer have to quarantine

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during a September news conference in Viera, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Wednesday an emergency order allowing parents to decide whether their children should quarantine or stay in school if they're exposed to COVID-19, provided they're asymptomatic.

Why it matters: People infected with COVID-19 can spread the coronavirus starting from two days before they display symptoms, according to the CDC. Quarantine helps prevent the virus' spread.

Federal judge: Florida ban on sanctuary cities racially motivated

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday struck down parts of a Florida law aimed at banning local governments from establishing sanctuary city policies, arguing in part that the law is racially motivated and that it has the support of hate groups.

Why it matters: In a 110-page ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom said the law — signed and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause because it was adopted with discriminatory motives.

Biden steps into the breach

Sen. Joe Manchin heads to a meeting with President Biden today. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

President Biden ramped up the pressure on his fellow Democrats Wednesday, calling a series of lawmakers to the White House in the hope of ending infighting and getting them in line.

Why it matters: Divisions within the party are threatening to derail Biden's top priorities. After several weeks of letting negotiations play out, the president is finally asserting his power to ensure his own party doesn't block his agenda.