With Sky, Comcast would gain sought-after programming, such as the rights to English Premier League football. AFP / Ben STANSALL
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Comcast Corp. won a bidding war for Sky PLC with a $39 billion offer for Europe's largest satellite broadcaster, staving off rivals Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and Walt Disney Co. to extend the U.S. cable giant's empire abroad. In a rare auction overseen by U.K. regulators, Comcast bid 10 percent more than Fox on Saturday, all but assuring that investors in London-based Sky will tender their shares to the Philadelphia-based cable carrier.Fox is selling its 39 percent stake to Disney as part of a deal struck last year, but it's considering pledging the Sky shares to Comcast if Disney supports the move, people familiar with the matter said.While Sky shareholders are celebrating, Comcast's may feel uneasy.It remains unclear whether Disney will embrace the idea of selling Fox's 39 percent stake in Sky to Comcast. While Comcast acquired NBCUniversal and DreamWorks Animation over the past decade, it failed in attempts to buy Disney in 2004, Time Warner Cable Inc. in 2015 and Fox in July.If Fox had outbid Comcast, Sky would have fallen into Disney's hands next year as part of its $71 billion Fox takeover deal struck in July.
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