21st Century Fox ended days of speculation regarding its intentions for its 39% interest in Sky plc, telling investors it plans to sell the stake to Comcast, the cable operator that agreed to plunk down nearly $40 billion for the British satellite giant.
The deal will add another $15 billion to Comcast's tally for the Sky assets.
Comcast won the blind auction for Sky on Sept. 22, agreeing to pay £17.28 per share for the satellite company, outpacing a £15.67 offer from Fox. Comcast had been buying Sky shares on the open market and shortly after its winning bid was announced, Sky's board of directors recommended its shareholders accept the offer.
“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," Fox said in a statement. "We congratulate Comcast on their pending acquisition."
Some observers had speculated that Comcast would be willing to swap its 30% interest in online video pioneer Hulu for the Sky stake -- Fox is a partner in Hulu and is in the process of selling that stake along with other assets to The Walt Disney Co. But with the decision to take the cash instead, those positions apparently will remain intact, at least for now.
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