Feb 27, 2018

Comcast challenges Fox with $31 billion Sky News bid

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Just weeks after it was rumored to have placed a higher bid for Fox's entertainment assets than Disney, American cable giant Comcast announced that it is placing a $31 cash billion bid for a majority stake (over 50%) in Europe's Sky News, topping 21st Century Fox's $15 billion bid for an additional 61% of the network that it doesn’t already own.

Why it matters: Fox has been pursuing a majority stake in Sky for months, but has been facing regulatory hurdles around the deal. British authorities were supposed to give Fox a final decision this spring, but Comcast's bid could change the deal outlook for the network, which is simultaneously hoping to complete a $52 billion merger with Disney in the United States.

Between the lines: The bid shows how aggressive Comcast, which owns a majority stake in NBCUniversal, is willing to pursue content deals globally.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said Tuesday that the cable company is looking to acquire over 50% of the Sky shares in order launch a platform for growth in Europe. “Adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses will increase our international revenues from 9% to 25% of company revenues," Roberts said.

  • Fox has offered some remedies to address media ownership plurality in Europe. The company recently pledged to create a fully independent board for Sky News to ensure its independence, should its $15 billion bid to take a majority stake in the Pay-TV company be approved.

The bigger picture: Many legacy media players have been consolidating to be able to compete with tech giants, like Google, Facebook and Netflix. Discovery Communications acquired Scripps Inc. for $14 billion this summer.

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World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 9 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 704,095 — Total deaths: 33,509 — Total recoveries: 148,824.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 132,637 — Total deaths: 2,351 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reported almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Cuomo: Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked people"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Sunday that President Trump's unexpected Saturday announcement of a possible "short-term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to curb the spread of the coronavirus "really panicked people."

Why it matters: Though Trump ruled out the mandatory quarantine later that day, Cuomo said people still called "all night long" asking about the comments and many likely fled the New York area — possibly spreading the virus further.