Comcast has secured more than 30% of Sky shares – three days after agreeing to pay $40B for the European pay-TV giant.
The move means that the NBC Universal owner must now offer to buy out other investors at the formal offer price of £17.28. The company, in a note to the London Stock Exchange, said that it was now “seeking to make further market purchases of Sky Shares.”
The company is hoping to wrap up a deal to acquire at least 50% of the shares in the company by the end of October.
This comes a day after Comcast shares fell sharply while Disney’s gained as Wall Street investors continued to process the outcome of Saturday’s auction for control of Sky.
In the unusual one-day auction process, Comcast prevailed over 21st Century Fox (most of which is about to be acquired by Disney), paying $40 billion, or more than 60% more than what Fox initially offered in 2016. Fox retains a 39% stake in Sky, with that minority interest transferring to Disney after the merger closes, likely in the first quarter of 2019.
Comcast’s stock price declined 6% to close at $35.63, on more than triple its average trading volume. The single-day drop was the stock’s steepest of the year and despite recent gains it has dropped more than 13% in 2018 to date.
“We fear that Sky will be an albatross,” Craig Moffett and Michael Nathanson wrote in a note to clients. “Comcast would like to have investors view Sky as a platform-agnostic collection of proprietary programming agreements that can serve as a springboard to create a global OTT provider, and, to be fair, the company does indeed have many proprietary programming agreements. But it seems as though they would like investors to forget that it is also a satellite TV provider, and satellite video distribution is increasingly becoming obsolete.”
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