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Eurobites: Comcast Ups Its Bid for Sky

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT shareholders revolt over Patterson's package; ECI lands backbone deal in Lithuania; Exponential-e tackles multicloud.

  • Comcast didn't wait long to land the latest blow in the battle to acquire Sky. Only a day after Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox tabled a takeover bid for Sky (NYSE, London: SKY) that valued the pay-TV giant at £24.5 billion (US$32.5 billion), the US cable operator has retaliated with an improved bid of £14.75 in cash for each Sky share, accepted and recommended by Sky's Independent Committee, that values the company at £25.9 billion ($34.2 billion). Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts noted: "We are pleased to be announcing a recommended increased offer for Sky today. We have long admired Sky which we believe is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast. Today's announcement further underscores this belief and our commitment to owning Sky. We will be posting our offer document to Sky shareholders shortly." The news sent Sky's share price up by 2% to £15.23, reflecting investor expectation that the bidding war is far from over. How quickly will Murdoch respond with a yet higher bid? Eurobites is prepared to stake £1 that a bid valuing Sky at £27 billion ($35.7 billion) will be announced before France are crowned World Cup winners this weekend. (See Fox Trumps Comcast With $32.5B Bid for Sky.)

  • BT's annual general meeting yesterday saw more than a third of BT investors vote against outgoing CEO Gavin Patterson's £2.3 million ($3 million) compensation package. As the Guardian reports, 34.2% of investors gave it the thumbs down, not enough to cancel it necessarily but enough to put BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) on a public register of firms at which more than 20% of shareholders have voted against an executive pay resolution. One shareholder advisory group, Pirc, said bluntly: "The company's recent poor share performance, the decision to cut 13,000 jobs in order to deal with losses and the losses brought about by BT Italy's accounting practices are not reflected in the CEO's remuneration." (See Eurobites: BT Faces Shareholder Revolt Over Outgoing CEO's Bonus, BT's Patterson Gets Tasty CEO Bonus as Troops Suffer and BT Waves Goodbye to Gorgeous Gavin.)

  • Israel's ECI Telecom Ltd. has landed an optical backbone upgrade contract in Lithuania, on the Baltic state's Litnet national research and education network, which is operated by Kaunas University of Technology. ECI will have its Apollo 96XX family of high-speed DWDM transport offerings in the back of the van.

  • Exponential-e Ltd. , the UK-based cloud and network provider, has launched its Cloud Management Platform (CMP), which it says enables companies to get a grip of their multicloud environments by allowing them to view and manage the performance of their various cloud services through a single interface.

  • Germany's Datacenter One is deploying ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) 's FSP 3000 box and accompanying ConnectGuard encryption technology to provide a more secure data center interconnect (DCI) network for one of its major financial customers. The optical transport platform is intended to enable secure 100Gbit/s Carrier Ethernet and Fibre Channel connectivity between the customer's main data centers.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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