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Comcast makes formal bid to take over Sky

UPDATE | After a couple of months of waiting in the shadows, NBC owner Comcast has made a formal offer to buy Sky.

The bid is worth £22 billion, which means the company values the pay TV giant at £12.50 a share, adding another level of uncertainty over the future of Sky.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is trying to take full control of the part of Sky it doesn't already own. But Disney wants to, in turn, take over 21st Century Fox. The 21st Century Fox takeover has already undergone regulatory scrutiny, which has resulted in assurances being made over the future and independence of loss-making Sky News.  But Comcast's intervention could scupper Murdoch's plans. Comcast has given Sky assurances over the future of Sky News, which has been welcomed by the broadcaster.

Comcast is the US's biggest cable TV firm. In addition to owning NBC, it also controls Universal Pictures. It had first expressed an interest in taking over Sky earlier this year, before going quiet for several weeks.

Announcing its formal offer, Comcast's chief executive, Brian Roberts, said:
"We are delighted to be formalising our offer for Sky today. We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast. Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand. It is led by a terrific management team who we look forward to working with to build and grow this business."

Meanwhile, Sky's Independent Committee told shareholders that as a result of the bid, it is withdrawing its recommendation of the offer announced by 21st Century Fox and has now terminated the Co-operation Agreement entered into with 21st Century Fox.