Comcast makes firm £22bn offer for Sky

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Comcast's offer is a 16% premium to 21st Century Fox's most recent bid.

Comcast, continuing to see the loss of cable subscribers during an otherwise strong first quarter, formalized its bid for Britain's Sky satellite with a $30 billion offer.

Comcast announced its intention to launch a bid for Sky in February, gatecrashing 21st Century Fox's planned £18.5 billion takeover.

The owner of NBC Universal announced terms for a pre-conditional cash offer this morning. Comcast said it would make a legally binding commitment to fund the rolling news channel at at least its current level for a decade.

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Fox has already agreed on paper to sell its stake in Sky to Disney as part of a $52.4 billion (£37.5 billion) package of film and TV assets.

Investors, who think the bidding war will continue, sent Sky's stock much higher than Comcast's new offer.

Comcast also said it would establish an independent board for Sky News as a bulwark against editorial interference, which has been a major concern for politicians and regulators in the Murdoch pursuit of Sky. Since Comcast announced its proposed bid in February, Sky's shares had been trading at more than 13 pounds, at a premium to the Comcast price, as investors expected a protracted battle for the United Kingdom broadcaster.

And in a bid to head off any competition concerns, the group said it would vow not to acquire any majority stake in any United Kingdom newspapers for five years.

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Comcast Corp. posted earnings of $3.12 billion.

"We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast", Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in a statement.

Sky News has become a flash point in the Fox's bid due to competition fears centring on Mr Murdoch's ownership of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers. In a separate statement, Fox said it remains committed to its offer for Sky and is "currently considering its options", with a further announcement in due course. "Sky will be our platform for growth across Europe".

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