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What’s next for Comcast and Sky?

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Comcast Corp outgunned Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc in the battle for British pay-TV broadcaster Sky plc on Saturday night, besting its rival at an auction with a US$39 billion bid.

[LONDON] Comcast Corp outgunned Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox Inc in the battle for British pay-TV broadcaster Sky plc on Saturday night, besting its rival at an auction with a US$39 billion bid.

Now Comcast chief executive officer Brian Roberts needs to seal the deal.

Comcast's final bid of £17.28 a share was well above the £15.67 offered by Fox. From Monday, Comcast will look to start buying Sky shares in the market. Its aim is to amass more than 50 per cent of the stock before an Oct 11 deadline. If and when the company reaches that target, Comcast will wrest control of Sky from Fox.

What happens to Fox's 39 per cent stake in Sky?

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Market voices on:

Fox, backed by Walt Disney Co, is considering its options. The company could decide to sell the stake to Comcast and cash in, a move that would help its rival rapidly reach its acceptance target. Fox is mulling tendering the stake if Disney supports the move, according to people familiar with the matter. Alternatively, it could hold on to the stake, staying a major owner of Sky.

How did we get here?

The battle for Sky has been a long-running saga, and marks the second time in a decade that Murdoch has tried to take back ownership of a company he founded in the late 1980s. Here are some key dates:

June 2010: Murdoch's News Corp. prepares a US$12.6 billion bid for Sky, which is abandoned in July 2011 after a phone-hacking scandal at his News of the World newspaper, which made the deal politically unfeasible.

Dec 9, 2016: Fox, a descendant of News Corp, makes a fresh £10.75 per share bid for the 61 per cent of Sky it doesn't already own. Sky's shares had been trading at around £7.50.

Sept 14, 2017: U.K. government refers the Fox takeover to regulators on concerns it will give Murdoch too much influence over British media

Dec 14, 2017: Fox announces US$52 billion sale of entertainment assets, including its Sky stake, to Disney

Jan 23, 2018: U.K. regulators say Fox-Sky deal would give Murdoch too much influence, seek remedies

Feb 13, 2018: Sky secures latest package of English Premier League soccer broadcast rights for less than expected, boosting its value

Feb 27, 2018: Comcast makes a rival offer for Sky at £12.50 per share, a 16 per cent premium to the Fox bid

July 11, 2018: Fox increases bid for Sky to £14 per share

July 11, 2018: Comcast raises offer for Sky to £14.75 per share

July 12, 2018: UK government clears Fox's Sky bid, conditional on it selling Sky News to Disney

July 19, 2018: Comcast drops pursuit of Fox - after Disney bids US$71.3 billion for its entertainment assets - to focus on Sky

Sept 22, 2018: Comcast and Fox make best and final offers for Sky, with Comcast coming out on top with £17.28 per share bid. Fox bid £15.67 per share.

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