Rupert Murdoch sells 39% Sky stake to Comcast for £11.6bn

Rupert Murdoch offloads £11.6bn Sky stake

Rupert Murdoch’s long association with Sky has come to an end after the media mogul confirmed he would sell his stake in the satellite broadcaster to Comcast for £11.6bn.

Murdoch launched the subscription television service three decades ago and retained a 39% stake in the business via 21st Century Fox. However, Sky shareholders accepted a £30bn takeover bid from Comcast late last week, bringing an end to a lengthy bidding war.

From humble beginnings the broadcaster has grown to become a European colossus with 23 million subscribers.

In a statement Fox said: “When we launched Sky in 1989 it was four channels produced from a prefab structure in an industrial park on the fringes of west London. We bet — and almost lost — the farm on launching a business that many didn’t think was such a good idea. Today, Sky is Europe’s leading entertainment company.

“We are proud of the role our company has played in building Sky, and of the outstanding value we have delivered for shareholders of 21st Century Fox and Sky. We congratulate Comcast on their pending acquisition.”

Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of Sky, said: “Nearly 30 years ago Rupert Murdoch took a risk to launch Sky and in the process changed the way we watch television forever. We close one chapter while simultaneously opening another. Our aim is to make the next 30 years as exciting for customers, colleagues and all our stakeholders.”

Prior to Comcast’s intervention Fox had intended to sell its Sky stake to Disney as part of a larger $71.3bn acquisition of assets.

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