Team Sky confident they will operate as normal despite takeover fears

Annette Crawford
October 12, 2018

Fox already had a 39% stake in Sky and had been aiming to take full control of the company - which was launched by Fox's executive chairman Rupert Murdoch in 1989.

The chief exec of 21st Century Fox Murdoch stepped down from the board alongside six other directors after Comcast said it had officially acquired 75 per cent of Sky's share capital.

"As we've said before, we consider Comcast's offer to be an excellent outcome for Sky shareholders", commented Martin Gilbert, outgoing Chairman of the Independent Committee of Sky.

As a result of Comcast's offer becoming unconditional, seven directors have resigned from the Sky board with immediate effect, including James Murdoch.

"We are also fully committed to ensuring Sky News' future, maintaining its editorial independence, and preserving its strong track record for trusted, high quality, impartial news".

"We very much look forward to working with Brian and the Comcast team to achieve further growth and development of Sky's business".

Comcast said it held almost 77% of Sky's shares, making its takeover wholly unconditional. To this, analysts believed that the US cable company has overpaid for the shares, probably due to pressures over tougher competition for viewers against Netflix and Amazon.

Analysts with the New Street research firm said Comcast would have done it better if they walked away from the bidding when it reached $40 billion.

"This would have been an absolute PR disaster for Comcast had the deal not gone in their favour", he added.

Sky has just released a streaming service akin to Netflix.

Insiders, however, insist Team Sky have always been more Jeremy Darroch's project than Murdoch's - Darroch is the chief executive of Sky plc - and they say their understanding is that the team will be allowed to continue do their jobs. With Comcast and Sky's new semi-streaming service, these two companies could both work as both cable operators and stream providers.

With the acquisition of Sky, Comcast captures the broadcaster's live rights for English Premier League football.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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