Comcast Corp. has offered $31 billion to acquire a British satellite TV network in a deal that could disrupt 21st Century Fox’s plan to sell its stake in venture to Burbank-based Walt Disney Co.
Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal in Universal City, announced Tuesday that it has offered 12.5 pounds per share for Sky. The proposal amounts to a 16 percent premium on shares. Fox owns a 39 percent stake in the company.
Sky is one of Europe’s largest satellite TV providers with more than 23 million customers in seven countries including the U.K., Germany and Spain. In addition to satellite TV, Sky also offers cable and broadband services as well as its own original programming.
“Sky has been a consistent innovator in its use of technology to deliver a fantastic viewing experience and has a proud record of investment in news and programming,” Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in a statement.
The bid comes as Disney is in the process of acquiring 21st Century Fox’s assets, including its film studios and television networks. The Comcast proposal could force Disney to renegotiate its $52.4 billion offer to buy Fox.
Shares of Disney (DIS) closed Tuesday down $4.94, or 4.5 percent, to $104.87 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Philadelphia-based Comcast (CMCSA) closed down $2.92, or 7.4 percent, to $36.66 on the Nasdaq.