Sky reports strong full-year performance as bidding war rages on

Game Of Thrones starring Emilia Clarke

Game Of Thrones starring Emilia Clarke

Net income attributable to Comcast rose 27.6 percent to $3.2 billion, or 69 cents per share, from $2.5 billion, or 52 cents per share, a year earlier.

Sky's group chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, hailed an "exceptional year" for the company, adding that the group had upgraded its services in Germany and Austria in order to sustain long-term growth in the largest European TV markets.

Comcast's revenue rose 2.1 percent from the previous year to $21.7 billion but fell short of analyst estimates of $21.86 billion.

USA cable company Comcast (CMCSA.O) is leading the race to buy Sky after it offered 14.75 pounds a share this month, valuing the group at $34 billion.

The takeover war has seen Comcast go head-to-head with Walt Disney, which has bid for Fox assets, including its 39% stake in Sky.

Its results come as the takeover tussle for Sky rages on, which could see it come under the full ownership of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox or USA cable giant Comcast, which have both put forward multibillion-pound offers.

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch
Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch

While Fox, owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, now owns 39% of Sky but has been trying to purchase the remaining 61% since 201 but has been continuously scrutinised by United Kingdom regulators for its potential impact on Murdoch's influence in British media.

"Today Sky is bigger and doing more for customers than ever before - and we're proud that is being recognised globally".

"These numbers and a bullish plan for further aggressive growth in the current financial year are clearly presented to squeeze the maximum from potential buyers", he said.

Comcast conceded that contest to Disney a week ago, in part because the bidding war was inflating the value of Sky, given Fox's partial ownership, according to sources.

Fox will need Disney's permission to make a higher offer. "The best way to play Comcast's strong results...is to buy Charter".

UBS said Sky had put in place the building blocks for future growth. Sky has 22.5 million customers in five European countries - a continent where cord-cutting is not as widespread as in the US, while Fox's studios offered Comcast a chance to greatly expand its NBCUniversal division.

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