21st Century Fox Plans to Sell Stake in Sky

21st Century Fox said it plans to sell its stake in Sky to Comcast.

Comcast made a $40 billion offer that outbid Fox for the remaining Sky shares. Fox was bidding for the Walt Disney Co., which earlier had agreed to buy assets from Fox, including Fox’s 37% of Sky.

Fox valued its stake at $15 billion.

Disney said consented to Fox’s decision to sell the stake to Comcast.

Fox will either it tender its shares under Comcast’s offer, or sell the shares directly to Comcast.

Outbidding Fox and Disney for Sky hurt Comcast on Wall Street, where investors were concerned Comcast has overpaid for the asset.

But Comcast said it believe Sky would give it a larger subscriber base, more international business and access to direct-to-consumer technology.

Fox issued statement about its decision to sell its stake in Sky.

“In light of the premium Comcast has agreed to pay for Sky, we and Disney have decided to sell 21CF’s existing 39% holding in Sky to Comcast. We congratulate Comcast on their pending acquisition.

“We are proud of the role our company has played in building Sky, and of the outstanding value we have delivered for shareholders of 21CF and Sky, and customers across Europe.

“When we launched Sky in 1989 it was four channels produced from a prefab structure in an industrial park on the fringes of west London. We bet -- and almost lost -- the farm on launching a business that many didn’t think was such a good idea. Today, Sky is Europe’s leading entertainment company and a world-class example of a customer-driven enterprise. This achievement would not have been possible without decades of entrepreneurial risk-taking and the commitment of thousands of colleagues, creators and dreamers. For nearly 30 years we have invested to create a dynamic and exciting business that has produced excellent returns for shareholders and has become one of the most admired companies in Europe.

“We have provided greater choice and better value for families across Europe, and we have created more than 31,000 jobs across the continent. Today, Sky brings customers better TV than ever before and better entertainment experiences than many ever thought possible.”

We are grateful to our exceptional colleagues at Sky for creating this unique and outstanding company and wish them continued success.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.