Davis Polk and Freshfields win roles as Comcast challenges Murdoch with £22bn bid for Sky

Davis Polk & Wardwell and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer have been instructed to advise on US cable operator Comcast’s £22.1bn bid for Sky, which challenges an existing offer from 21st Century Fox.

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox had previously agreed a £18.5bn deal to buy the remaining 61% of Sky it does not already own.

Davis Polk is advising longstanding client Comcast with a team led by managing partner Tom Reid, which includes London corporate partner Will Pearce and New York corporate partner Brian Wolfe.

Freshfields is also representing Comcast with a team including London M&A partners Julian Long and Alison Smith, City competition partners John Davies and Michelle Davis and London employment partner Alice GreenwEll.

Comcast said today (27 February) that its potential all-cash offer would value Sky at £12.50 per share. This would be around 16% more than 21st Century Fox’s initial £10.75 bid.

Sky is understood to have turned to HSF again on the new bid.

Previously, Legal Week reported that Allen & Overy (A&O) was instructed to advise longstanding client 21st Century Fox on its proposed deal announced in December 2016, leading on corporate, regulatory and competition matters. Its team is being led out of London by antitrust co-head Antonio Bavasso, corporate finance partner David Broadley and M&A partners Seth Jones and Simon Toms.

Skadden also won a role to advise 21st Century Fox on corporate matters with a team led by New York M&A partner Howard Ellin and Brandon Van Dyke. Simpson Thatcher Bartlett is advising on the financing aspects of the deal with a team including New York partner and global banking head Patrick Ryan and banking associate Matthew Farrell.

Picture credit: user Steindy