Comcast faces continued doubts over wisdom of Sky purchase

James Murdoch’s departure ends his family’s association with the satellite television service

The two United States entertainment giants each wanted full control of Sky in the face of increasing pressure from Netflix and Amazon for viewers.

Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation, said: "We are pleased today to be the majority owner of Sky".

"As we've said before, we consider Comcast's offer to be an excellent outcome for Sky shareholders", commented Martin Gilbert, outgoing Chairman of the Independent Committee of Sky.

Following confirmation that Comcast has acquired 21st Century Fox's stake in Sky and now effectively owns 77 per cent of the company, Sky has announced its intention to cancel its listing at the London Stock Exchange, and also revealed that James Murdoch is among seven directors who have resigned from the Board with immediate effect.

"Comcast have committed to investment in Sky, including our Osterley and European headquarters and we very much look forward to working with Brian and the Comcast team to achieve further growth and development of Sky's business", said Jeremy Darroch, group CEO of Sky, in a statement. Roberts assured that Comcast will respect Sky New's editorial independence and preserve the organization's trusted name in delivering high quality and impartial news.

Analysts with the New Street research firm said Comcast would have done it better if they walked away from the bidding when it reached $40 billion.

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For Zach Fuller, an analyst with MIDiA, thought Comcast's move was too risky for its public image.

Sky has just released a streaming service akin to Netflix.

Comcast won against Fox in a September auction for Sky, with an offer of about $22.58 per share, or almost $39 billion.

Craig Moffett, an analyst with MoffettNathanson, said Comcast might win the market as young viewers continue to turn away from other cable networks over streaming services.

With the acquisition of Sky, Comcast captures the broadcaster's live rights for English Premier League football.

United Kingdom culture minister Jeremey Wright had urged Comcast to ensure the independence of Sky News.

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