27 February 2018
Superior Cash Proposal for Sky by Comcast
Possible all-cash offer of £12.50 per share, premium of 16% to the current 21CF offer
Minimum acceptance condition of 50 per cent. plus one share
Confident in receiving all necessary regulatory approvals in a timely manner
Strategic opportunity to acquire a leading content and distribution business in the UK and Europe
Specific intentions to maintain a strong presence in the UK for the combined business:
Continued investment in creative industries in the UK
Support for high broadcasting standards and news impartiality in the UK
The combined business will have the resources and capabilities across content, technology and service to compete and grow in a rapidly changing market
Accretive to Comcast's free cash flow per share in year one
Financial Terms of the Superior Cash Proposal
Comcast Corporation ("Comcast" or the "Company") announces a possible all-cash offer of £12.50 for each Sky Share to be made by Comcast for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sky plc ("Sky") (the "Superior Cash Proposal").
The Superior Cash Proposal represents:
a premium of approximately 16% to the current Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. ("21CF") offer price of £10.75 for each Sky Share which 21CF and its affiliates do not already own ("21CF Offer"); and
a premium of approximately 13% to the closing price of £11.05 per Sky Share on 26 February 2018, being the last business day prior to the date of this announcement.
The Superior Cash Proposal implies a value of approximately £22.1 billion for the fully diluted ordinary share capital of Sky.
Commenting on the Superior Cash Proposal, Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast said:
"We think Sky is an outstanding company. It has 23 million customers, leading positions in the UK, Italy and Germany, and is a consistent innovator in its use of technology to deliver its customers a great experience. Sky has a proud record of investment in news and programming. It has great people and a very strong and capable management team.
We think that Sky would be very valuable to us as we look to expand our presence internationally. The Superior Cash Proposal values each Sky share at £12.50 in cash - a significant premium to the 21CF price currently recommended. We would like to own the whole of Sky and we will be looking to acquire over 50% of the Sky shares. We are confident that we will be able to receive the necessary regulatory approvals. If successful, the acquisition will enhance our free cash flow per share in the first year.
The UK is and will remain a great place to do business. We already have a strong presence in London and Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for our growth in Europe. We intend to maintain and enhance Sky's business. Adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses will increase our international revenues from 9% to 25%. We believe that there are significant opportunities for growth by combining these businesses. We are continually seeing that customers' demands and expectations are evolving rapidly as technology enables new products and services. By combining the content, technology expertise and investment of Comcast with the market leading businesses and talent within Sky, we will create a very exciting platform for growth across Europe.
We hold the management of Sky in high regard and would welcome the opportunity to meet with them and the independent directors of Sky to discuss our plans for the business, particularly with respect to maintaining Sky's strong platform in the UK. In due course, we very much hope that the independent directors will recommend our proposal."
Intentions in relation to Sky and the UK
Comcast attaches great importance to the skills and experience of the existing managers and employees of Sky. Comcast would approach integration of the broader management team in an open and transparent manner.
Comcast is making the following specific statements of intent with regard to Sky's business in the UK. The six principles of Comcast's Superior Cash Proposal for Sky are as follows:
1. Supporting growth in the UK
Comcast will maintain Sky's UK HQ at the Osterley campus. Owned by Comcast, NBCUniversal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies with more than 1,300 employees in the UK. As a producer, NBCUniversal has invested over $1 billion in film and TV productions in the UK over the past three years in a wide variety of content.
2. Supporting the creative industries in the UK
Comcast will continue to support Sky as a global leader in content creation, arts, culture, and entertainment. Comcast intends to increase Sky's investment in UK TV and film production. Comcast currently invests in UK TV and film production, including in Carnival Films, the makers of Downton Abbey and The Last Kingdom. Comcast is a global media and technology company, bringing entertainment and communications experiences to millions of people. The Company has a proven track record of investing in the creative sector, including through Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation.
3. Supporting high broadcasting standards and news impartiality in the UK
Comcast recognises that Sky News is an invaluable part of the UK news landscape and the Company intends to maintain Sky News' existing brand and culture, as well as its strong track record for high-quality impartial news and adherence to broadcasting standards. While Comcast does own a substantial international operation in the UK, with more than 1,300 employees, the Company has only a minimal presence in the UK media market. Comcast therefore does not believe that this Superior Cash Proposal should create any media plurality concerns in the UK.
4. Supporting innovation in the UK
Comcast will continue to support Sky's technology hub in Leeds and its Software Engineering Academy scheme. In the US, Comcast and NBCUniversal have been innovators in creating and delivering award-winning content and technologies to consumers. The combined company will create compelling opportunities for growth and innovation.
5. Supporting young people in the UK
Comcast will maintain Sky's Software Engineering Academy scheme, which offers technology apprenticeships and graduate opportunities to young people across the north of England. Comcast intends to continue investment in employees' professional development across the UK. Comcast was founded as a start-up 55 years ago and that entrepreneurial spirit is still at the heart of everything we do. Comcast believes that to thrive as a company, we must invest in our people, giving them opportunities to flourish. The Company provides many opportunities for employees to showcase their creativity and talents, including: programmes for all employees to share original ideas; opportunities for employees to partner, explore, and develop projects not core to their responsibilities; leadership and development programmes for employees of all levels; and internships and apprentice programmes for hundreds of young people annually.
6. Supporting communities in the UK
Comcast will continue Sky's local community programmes to inspire more people to get involved in sports. The Company intends to support Sky's Bigger Picture Programme to create new opportunities for young people to develop themselves, including Sky Sports Scholarships, which support promising young athletes. Comcast knows the power of sports and how it brings communities together, as well as the importance of corporate social responsibility programmes to building the communities where the Company's employees and customers live and work.
The above intention statements in relation to Sky are not "post-offer undertakings" for the purposes of Rule 19.5 of the Code.
Sky is a leading consumer entertainment company in Europe, providing exceptional entertainment and communication services to consumers primarily in the UK, Germany and Italy. Comcast is a global media and technology company consisting of two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies
with a London-based international head office focused on the sale and distribution of films and television shows to markets outside of North America. Comcast Cable is one of the largest high- speed internet and video providers in the US serving 29 million customers with its broadband service and its Xfinity X1 video product.
In an increasingly global competitive landscape, the combination of Sky with Comcast would create an organisation ideally equipped to grow, compete and innovate for the benefit of over 50 million combined global customers. This transaction will create opportunities for Sky and Comcast to work together for best-in-class platform innovation.
By adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses, the acquisition would enhance the entertainment, content creation, distribution and technology leadership of Comcast, and importantly expand Comcast's international footprint to more effectively compete in the rapidly changing and intensely competitive entertainment and communications landscape.
In addition, the combination would create a highly attractive combined portfolio of sports, news, movies and filmed entertainment content, adding the strength of the Sky brand, channels and content creation to Comcast's existing portfolio that includes NBC, Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation. This portfolio of content would be well positioned to compete across the global entertainment landscape.
The combined business will benefit from a wider geographic footprint to distribute its content and to increase its technology innovation, whilst also creating more opportunities to distribute Sky's growing library of owned content across Comcast's US footprint. Further, by providing entertainment and communications distribution businesses in primarily three of the top five entertainment and communications markets in Europe (UK, Germany and Italy), a leading over- the-top video service in Now TV and a platform for further international growth, the acquisition would expand Comcast's international presence. In addition, Comcast and Sky will benefit from each other's technology development allowing customers from both companies to experience industry leading innovations from the US and Europe.
The combination with Sky is expected to be accretive to Comcast's free cash flow per share in year one excluding one-time transaction related expenses. The Board of Comcast believes that this transaction would provide attractive returns to shareholders and the combined business would be well positioned to drive future growth.
Implementation of the Superior Cash Proposal
Were Comcast to announce a firm offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Sky, it would intend to implement the offer by way of a takeover offer within the meaning of Part 28 of the Companies Act 2006 (the "Act"). Under these circumstances, a transaction would be conditional upon the receipt of valid acceptances in respect of Sky Shares which, together with Sky Shares that Comcast has acquired or may agree to acquire (whether pursuant to the offer or otherwise), carry in aggregate more than 50% of the voting rights then normally exercisable at a general meeting of Sky.
Comcast reserves the right to elect, with the consent of The Panel on Takeovers and Mergers ("the Panel"), to implement its offer by way of a Court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement in accordance with Part 26 of the Act.
The announcement of a firm offer for Sky is subject to and will not be made without final approval by the Board of Comcast.
The cash consideration under the transaction would be financed through a combination of Comcast's existing financial resources and new third party debt.
Anti-trust and Regulatory Approvals
Any transaction would be subject to conditions that are customary for a combination of this nature. This includes receipt, on satisfactory terms, of all anti-trust and regulatory approvals.
Anti-trust clearance will be required from the European Commission in addition to certain national regulatory approvals. Comcast is confident that all necessary approvals can be obtained in a timely manner and no material anti-trust or other regulatory issues are anticipated.
Comcast reserves the right to reduce the amount of the consideration of the Superior Cash Proposal by some or all of the amount of any dividend (or other distribution or return of capital) other than a Permitted Dividend (as defined below), which is announced, declared, paid or becomes payable by Sky to its shareholders on or after the date of this announcement and prior to the date on which Comcast is entered into the register of members of Sky following the Effective Date. The "Permitted Dividends" are:
the interim dividend of 13.06p per Sky Share in respect of the six months ending 31 December 2017 that becomes payable to Sky shareholders on 23 April 2018; and
any final dividend in respect of the year ending 30 June 2018, provided that it does not exceed 21.8p per Sky Share and is declared and paid prior to the Effective Date.
For these purposes, "Effective Date" means: (a) if Comcast proceeds to make a firm offer for Sky by way of a takeover offer within the meaning of Part 28 of the Act, the date on which such offer becomes or is declared wholly unconditional in all respects; and (b) if Comcast proceeds to make a firm offer for Sky and such firm offer is implemented by way of a Court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement in accordance with Part 26 of the Act, the date on which such scheme becomes effective in accordance with its terms.
The Superior Cash Proposal does not constitute an offer or impose any obligation on Comcast to make an offer, nor does it evidence a firm intention to make an offer within the meaning of the Code. Accordingly, there can be no certainty that any offer will ultimately be made.
A further announcement will be made when appropriate.
Investor Presentation Details
Comcast will host two conference calls for investors and analysts today. Details for the calls are as follows:
Investor and analyst webcast #1
Time: 4 a.m. EST / 9 a.m. GMT / 10 a.m. CET Webcast link:
United Kingdom Toll-Free: 0800 358 9473 PIN: 84364746#
United States Toll-Free: +1 855 857 0686 PIN: 84364746#
Investor and analyst webcast #2
Time: 8 a.m. EST / 1 p.m. GMT / 2 p.m. CET Webcast link:
United Kingdom Toll-Free: 0800 358 9473 PIN: 83986596#
United States Toll-Free: +1 855 857 0686 PIN: 83986596#
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