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Comcast outbids Fox with $40 billion winning offer for Sky

LONDON (Reuters) – Comcast (O:CMCSA) beat Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox (O:FOXA) in the battle for Sky (L:SKYB) on Saturday after offering 30.6 billion pounds ($40 billion) in a dramatic auction to decide the fate of the pay-television group.

The U.S. cable giant bid 17.28 pounds a share for control of London-listed Sky, bettering a 15.67 pounds-a-share offer by Fox, Britain’s Takeover Panel said.

Buying Sky will make Philadelphia-based Comcast, which owns the NBC network and Universal Pictures, the world’s largest pay-TV operator with around 52 million customers.

Chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts has had his eye on Sky as a way to help counter declines in subscribers for traditional cable TV in its core U.S. market as viewers switch to video-on-demand services like Netflix (O:NFLX) and Amazon (O:AMZN).

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