By Peter Gleason
On Saturday Philly-based Comcast won the bidding for the European satellite TV network Sky with a $39 billion bid, about $2 a share higher than Disney, Comcast’s linear rival, which won the competition for 21st Century Fox.
There’s been a lot if hand-wringing in the financial journalism biz, which thinks the $39 billion was too high.
Here’s what the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin’s take is on how Brian Roberts, the CEO. of Comcast, played the situation:
Mr. Robert’s maneuverings could one day prove to be a case study in tactical deal making. His move to buy most of Fox forced Disney to raise its bid for those assets so much that when it came time to compete for Sky, Disney had a hard time bidding against Comcast without overleveraging itself. Time will tell whether the Sky deal proves successful — but if scored simply on the dark arts of deal making, Mr. Roberts already won.
We’ll see whether Disney ends up selling Fox’s stake in Sky to Comcast. That’s likely, or else Disney risks being a minority owner with little influence. There has also been speculation that Comcast could sell its stake in Hulu to Disney as part of a swap, but that makes little sense for now.
Sky owns the rights to televising the English Premier League all over Europe, which provides a synergy for Comcast, whose NBC Universal owns the USA EPL rights.