Comcast to pay advisers as much as £243m in fees for Sky takeover

Fox, which already owns 39 per cent of Sky, and Comcast are fighting for control of the British pay-television group. — Reuters pic
Fox, which already owns 39 per cent of Sky, and Comcast are fighting for control of the British pay-television group. — Reuters pic

LONDON, July 14 — Comcast expects to pay the banks, law firms and other advisers on its £25.9 billion (RM138.8 billion) bid for Sky as much as £243 million if it wins the battle for the British broadcaster, the US cable giant said yesterday.

Sky is at the centre of a complex trans-Atlantic bidding war between Twenty-First Century Fox, Comcast and Walt Disney that will generate large fees for advisory firms working on all sides.

Fox, which already owns 39 per cent of Sky, and Comcast are fighting for control of the British pay-television group. At the same time, Comcast and Disney are vying to buy the bulk of Fox’s film and TV assets, including its Sky stake.

Comcast expects to pay its advisers between £203 million and £243 million in total for their work on the Sky bid, the US group estimated in its formal offer document for the British company yesterday.

The lion’s share of the fees — up to £170.3 million— will go to the lenders, including Bank of America, that are co-ordinating the financing for Comcast’s offer.

The cable giant will also pay between £22.7 million and £37.8 million to the firms that are providing it with financial advice.

They include the boutique Robey Warshaw, the small business founded by investment bankers Sir Simon Robey, Simon Warshaw and Philip Apostolides in 2013 and which is based in London’s upmarket Mayfair district.

In addition, as much as £24.1 million will go on Comcast’s legal fees.

Meanwhile, Sky expects to spend between £88.6 million and £95.9 million on advice and other expenses relating to the Comcast offer, the document shows.

The broadcaster estimates it will pay Barclays, Morgan Stanley, and boutique firm PJT Partners between £59.5 million and £61.5 million for their financial advice, according to the Comcast document. Legal advice will cost it between £15.2 million and £20 million.

Comcast said in the document that its £14.75 per share offer to Sky shareholders was open until 1300 London time on Aug. 22, although it said it could extend the acceptance period

It lifted its bid for Sky on Wednesday after Fox sweetened its rival offer to £14 per share earlier that day. Sky’s independent directors have recommended the Comcast offer.

Sky shares closed down 0.6 per cent at £15.35.

The stock is trading above the level of the Comcast offer amid speculation that Fox will make a higher counterbid. Fox is yet to publish its offer document. — Reuters

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